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Author Topic: Merry Xmas War Is Over VII
majorvictory64
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posted 20 November 2004 11:42 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We soldier on...

US battle plans begin to unravel

quote:
By Michael Schwartz

In the New York Times this week the first crack appeared in the armor of the "victory in Fallujah" facade maintained by the major US media since the battle began. Eric Schmitt and Robert Worth discuss a secret Marine Corps report that reveals the major bind the US has gotten itself into by sweeping through Fallujah and attempting to pacify it. This US strategy has created exactly the dilemma that many critics of the war had been predicting: in order to hold Fallujah the United States has to keep large numbers of troops there, and then the Americans will not have sufficient troops to handle the uprising elsewhere in the Sunni areas.

The problem is summarized thusly in the New York Times article: "Senior marine intelligence officers in Iraq are warning that if American troop levels in the Fallujah area are significantly reduced during reconstruction there, as has been planned, insurgents in the region will rebound from their defeat. The rebels could thwart the retraining of Iraqi security forces, intimidate the local population and derail elections set for January, the officers say."

Beneath this general problem lie three key problems that made the attack on Fallujah a desperation measure in the first place, and which is now creating a new and deeper crisis for the US military in its aftermath.

First, and most important, the people of Fallujah hate the Americans and support the guerrillas (even if they may have complaints about much of what they do). This means that as soon as the people return, so will the resistance, hidden from US view because virtually all the guerrillas are residents of Fallujah with supporters in the community. They will not be turned over to the US or to Iraqi police, and they will therefore begin to mount attacks on whoever is left to guard the US-installed local government.

Second, the US cannot depend on Iraqi police or military to fight this next phase of the "battle of Fallujah". Here's how this problem was reported by the Times: "Senior officers have said that they would keep a sizable American military presence in and around Fallujah in the long reconstruction phase that has just begun, until sufficiently trained and equipped Iraqi forces could take the lead in providing security. 'It will take a security presence for a while until a well-trained Iraqi security force can take over the presence in Fallujah and maintain security so that the insurgents don't come back, as they have tried to do in every one of the cities that we have thrown them out of,' General George W Casey Jr, the top American commander in Iraq, said on November 8. American commanders have expressed disappointment in some of the Iraqis they have been training, especially members of the Iraqi police force. Other troops have performed well, the officers have said."

The key thing here is that when the Americans entered the Fallujah battle they believed that the Iraqi forces would be ready to take over immediately after the city was cleared. But the mass defections and unwillingness to fight exhibited by the Iraqis have forced a drastic revision in these estimates, so that now US military leaders are forced to keep a US presence during the "long reconstruction phase" (read - "until the guerrilla attacks stop") while they wait (probably in vain) for a new cycle of training to produce an Iraqi force that is capable of resisting the guerrillas (the first three efforts to produce such a force have already failed - there is no reason to believe that the next will succeed).



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majorvictory64
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posted 21 November 2004 03:24 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Fights Baghdad Militants; GI Killed

quote:
The heaviest fighting in the capital took place in the Azamiyah district, a largely Sunni Arab quarter, where insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and small weapons at a police station, killing one policeman, Iraqi officials said.

Anger among Sunnis rose after Iraqi troops backed by U.S. soldiers Friday raided the Abu Hanifa mosque in Azamiyah — one of the most revered sites in Sunni Islam. Three worshippers were killed, witnesses said.

A number of U.S. armored vehicles were seen in flames, including a U.S. Army Humvee with what appeared to be a body in the driver's seat. Smoke rose from burning shops along a commercial street as U.S. helicopters circled overhead and ambulances raced to the scene.

The U.S. command said the American soldier died when his patrol came under a coordinated attack including small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs. The statement did not specify where the attack occurred or whether it was part of the Azamiyah fighting.

Clashes also erupted in the western Amiriyah neighborhood, long a center of insurgent activity, after three Iraqi National Guardsmen were killed by roadside bombs, policeman Akram al-Azzawi said.

A suicide driver blew up his vehicle shortly after noon at an intersection on Saadoun Street, a bustling commercial street. One Iraqi civilian was killed and another wounded in the blast, which sent black smoke rising above the city center and set several cars ablaze.

Gunmen chased down a vehicle carrying Ministry of Public Works employees on their way to work Saturday, opening fire and killing four of them, a ministry spokesman said. Amal Abdul-Hameed — an adviser to the ministry in charge of urban planning — and three employees from her office died, spokesman Jassim Mohammed Salim said.



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majorvictory64
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posted 21 November 2004 05:13 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'The war is over, but there is no peace ... and the killings go on'

quote:
The Iraqi journalist Abbas Ahmed Ibrahim tells of the horror and hardship in a first-hand account from the devastated city of Fallujah

20 November 2004

This is a strange time in Fallujah. They say the war is over, but there is no peace. Every day there is shooting, and there are still killings going on. There is very little left of the town now, everywhere there are buildings which have been destroyed.

There is also a terrible smell. We know what it is - it is the smell of dead bodies. Many have now been cleared away, but the smell does not go away, it will stay with us for a long time. The Americans say they are just finishing off the insurgents, but then they have been saying that for a few days now, so people here ask "who have they got left to finish off?" We hear of things like American soldiers killing wounded prisoners in a mosque, but that news is recycled to us from people outside. It is not possible to go out and find out what is going on.

I am not staying in Fallujah out of choice. But I am afraid to try to leave. I am 36 years old, The American troops have been arresting any males between the ages of 15 and 45 who have attempted to leave. They say civilians were told to get out of Fall- ujah, so any man who stayed behind must be in the mujahedin.

There are Iraqi men, with their faces hidden by scarves, with the American troops. These are the informers. If they point you out as an insurgent then there is no chance of proving that you are innocent. There are people who are settling personal or tribal grudges like this. You do not know who will denounce you.



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majorvictory64
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posted 21 November 2004 11:22 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos

quote:
Malnutrition Nearly Double What It Was Before Invasion

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.

Suad Ahmed's 4-month-old granddaughter, Hiba, has chronic diarrhea, a common ailment among Iraqi children under 5.

"These figures clearly indicate the downward trend," said Alexander Malyavin, a child health specialist with the UNICEF mission to Iraq.

The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship.



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majorvictory64
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posted 22 November 2004 12:31 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Audio: Terror In The Mosque As U.S. Troops Kill Four Iraqi's While At Prayer

quote:
Here is a radio dispatch and interview from FSRN and Flashpoints with audio taken inside the Abu Hanifa mosque of the raid/slaughter:

CLICK PLAY TO LISTEN



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majorvictory64
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posted 22 November 2004 08:00 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Raid on mosque sparks battles in Baghdad

quote:
By HAMZA HENDAWI
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

U.S. troops secure part of a highway in western Baghdad, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004 after a car bomb exploded next to U.S. military convoy wounding five soldiers, according to the military. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S.-Iraqi raid on the Abu Hanifa mosque - one of the most revered sites for Sunni Muslims - spawned a weekend of street battles, assassinations and a rash of bombings that changed Baghdad. The capital, for months a city of unrelenting but sporadic violence, has taken on the look of a battlefield.

The chaos has fanned sectarian tension and deepened Sunni distrust of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a Shiite installed by the Americans five months ago. It has also heightened the anxiety of the city's 6 million people - already worn down by years of sanctions and tyranny, then war, military occupation, crime and deprivation.

"Baghdad is now a battlefield and we are in the middle of it," said Qasim al-Sabti, an artist who kept his children home from school Saturday, which is a work day in Iraq. When he sent his children back to school Sunday, the teachers didn't show up.

After sundown Sunday, four large explosions shook the area near Baghdad's U.S.-guarded Green Zone - a frequent target of insurgent mortars and rockets. There was no word on any damage or casualties.

In a sign of public unease, merchants in the outdoor markets, where most people buy their meat, vegetables and household supplies, say crowds are below normal. Many shops near sites of car bombings have closed.

Adding to the sense of unease, U.S. military helicopters have begun flying lower over the city. The distant roar of jets has become a fixture of Baghdad at night.

The latest escalation appeared to have been triggered by a U.S.-Iraqi raid Friday on the Abu Hanifa mosque in the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah as worshippers were leaving after midday prayers. Witnesses said three people were killed, and 40 were arrested.

The next day, heavy street fighting erupted in Azamiyah between U.S. and Iraqi forces and Sunni insurgents who tried to storm a police station. The fighting, involving mortars, rocket propelled grenades and roadside bombs, raged for several hours and left several stores ablaze, according to witnesses.



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Cueball
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posted 22 November 2004 08:13 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Deployment of Kurdish troops in Mosul alarms Arabs or... how the US predicted and then started the civil war they say they want to prevent

quote:
Their deployment has provoked consternation among some Arab residents who fear that the Kurds, who want a fully independent state in northern Iraq, are trying to expand their territory onto the oil-rich plain to the south of their strongholds.

"Nobody wants the Kurdish army here," said Abeet Ranam, 40, an Arab storeowner in an upscale neighbourhood of northeastern Mosul. "There have been Kurds living here for centuries and that is fine. But we do not want the Kurdish army."

In the west of the city on Sunday, a Reuters reporter saw the bodies of three National Guards, shot in the back of the head. A note by the bodies read: "These are peshmerga soldiers."



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majorvictory64
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posted 22 November 2004 11:56 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ten days in Fallujah battlefield

quote:
by Li Jizhi, Jiang Xiaofeng

BAGHDAD, Nov. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Twelve days after losing contact with a correspondent based in Fallujah, Xinhua reporters were relieved to see him report back for work in deplorable shape on Saturday.

Abdul Rahman, a 30-year-old Fallujah resident working for Xinhua, made a phone call to the Xinhua office in Baghdad with his Iraqna mobile on Nov. 9, which became the last message Xinhua received from him.

He reported on that day that Fallujah had been ripped into two parts controlled by US-Iraqi forces and fighters respectively.With his words still resonating, Xinhua reporters were happy to see Rahman safe and sound.

Relaxing on a sofa for the first time after 10 days in hell,Rahman calmed down and recounted his experience as a correspondent and eyewitness of the bloody fighting in the past two weeks, aswell as his tale of escaping alive.

"I could either escape for life or stay to cover the truth. Ichose the latter," he said.

"At the beginning, the resistance in the Jolan district was strong and the American troops backed up. After rounds of airbombings, the area became relatively silent and the Americans pushed into the city with limited resistance," he recalled.Rahman could not confirm if the US forces used any chemical weapons as some newspapers claimed.

But he told Xinhua that some doctors in Fallujah were shocked tosee that many bodies were charred without apparent injuries.With fierce clashes on the ground and bombardment by USaircraft, many houses were leveled or people were killed."My friend and I heard the groaning of some injured people underruins of some destroyed houses, but we could do nothing for them."He was the witness of a scene where six injured Iraqis dragged by several US soldiers to a street were rolled over by a tank.He also saw an Iraqi cameraman gunned down by a sniper whileshooting in face of US vehicles.



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majorvictory64
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posted 23 November 2004 06:02 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mass Offensive Launched South of Baghdad

quote:
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Some 5,000 U.S. Marines, British troops and Iraqi forces launched a new offensive Tuesday aimed at clearing a swath of insurgent hotbeds across a cluster of dusty, small towns south of Baghdad.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have come under repeated attacks by car bombs, rockets, and small arms fire in these areas in "an apparent attempt to divert attention" away from the former militant stronghold of Fallujah, the military said.

The new offensive was the third large-scale military operation this month aimed at suppressing Iraq (news - web sites)'s Sunni Muslim insurgency ahead of crucial elections set for Jan. 30.

But violence has continued unabated, as masked gunmen shot to death a Sunni cleric Tuesday in the second such attack against a member of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, which has called for a boycott of the national elections.

The cleric, Sheik Ghalib Ali al-Zuhairi, was killed as he left a mosque after dawn prayers in the town of Muqdadiyah, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

His assassination occurred a day after another prominent Sunni cleric was killed in the northern city of Mosul — Sheik Faidh Mohamed Amin al-Faidhi, who was the brother of the group's spokesman. It was unclear whether the two attacks were related.

Insurgents hit a U.S. convoy with a roadside bomb near the central Iraq city of Samarra, prompting the Americans to open fire, killing an Iraqi, hospital officials said. Mortar rounds aimed at a nearby U.S. military base injured two children.

The joint military operation kicked off with early morning raids in the town of Jabella, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, as Iraqi and American troops, backed by jets and helicopters, swarmed into the region known as the "triangle of death."



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Black Dog
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posted 24 November 2004 01:56 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was just reading the CNN stats page, when I noticed something: there are 1,231 American deaths listed. Now, the 1,000th was killed back in September, which means that between September 8 and November 24, 231 Americans have been killed in Iraq, an rough average of more than 77 a month for the past three months, versus a rough average of 58 per month since March 2003.

I just found that interesting that more than 200 American deaths in all of 10 weeks could elicit so little comment from the U.S. media, especially during a presidential campaign.


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majorvictory64
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posted 25 November 2004 12:06 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Witnesses say US forces killed unarmed civilians


quote:
By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
24 November 2004

Allegations of widespread abuse by US forces in Fallujah, including the killing of unarmed civilians and the targeting of a hospital in an attack, have been made by people who have escaped from the city.

They said, in interviews with The Independent, that as well as deaths from bombs and artillery shells, a large number of people including children were killed by American snipers. US forces refused repeated calls for medical aid for injured civilians, they said.

Some of the killings took place in the build-up to the assault on the rebel stronghold, and at least in one case - that of the death of a family of seven, including a three-month baby - the American authorities have admitted responsibility and offered compensation.

The refugees from Fallujah describe a situation of extreme violence in which remaining civilians in the city, who have been told by the Americans to leave, appeared to have been seen as complicit in the insurgency. Men of military age were particularly vulnerable. But there are accounts of children as young as four, and women and old men being killed.

The American authorities have accused militant sympathisers of spreading disinformation, and have also claimed that people in Fallujah have exaggerated the number of casualties and the level of damage in the air campaign that preceded the assault.

The US military, which is inquiring into last week's shooting of an injured Iraqi fighter in Fallujah by a US marine, has said that any claims of abuse will be investigated. They also maintain that the dead and injured civilians may have been victims of insurgents.

The claims of abuse and killings, from different sources, appear, however, to follow a consistent pattern. Dr Ali Abbas, who arrived in Baghdad from Fallujah four days ago, worked at a clinic in the city which was bombed by the Americans. He said that at least five patients were killed.



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majorvictory64
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posted 25 November 2004 11:14 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Three US soldiers killed in Iraq

quote:
Iraqi teenagers dragged two bloodied U.S. soldiers from a wrecked vehicle and pummeled them with concrete blocks Sunday, witnesses said, describing the killings as a burst of savagery in a city once safe for Americans.

Another soldier was killed by a bomb and a U.S.-allied police chief was assassinated.

The U.S.-led coalition also said it grounded commercial flights after the military confirmed that a missile struck a DHL cargo plane that landed Saturday at Baghdad International Airport with its wing aflame.

Nevertheless, American officers insisted they were making progress in bringing stability to Iraq, and the U.S.-appointed Governing Council named an ambassador to Washington — an Iraqi-American woman who spent the past decade lobbying U.S. lawmakers to promote democracy in her homeland.

Witnesses to the Mosul attack said gunmen shot two soldiers driving through the city center, sending their vehicle crashing into a wall. The 101st Airborne Division said the soldiers were driving to another garrison.

About a dozen swarming teenagers dragged the soldiers out of the wreckage and beat them with concrete blocks, the witnesses said.

"They lifted a block and hit them with it on the face," said Younis Mahmoud, 19.

It was unknown whether the soldiers were alive or dead when pulled from the wreckage.



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majorvictory64
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posted 26 November 2004 12:43 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Frayed nerves on Baghdad streets leading to `friendly-fire' incidents

quote:
By Tim Johnson and Yasser Salihee

11/24/04 "Knight Ridder Newspapers" --

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In a sign of the hair-trigger nerves on the streets of Baghdad, U.S. troops and Iraqi police sometimes mistakenly fire at cars carrying friendly foreign-security contractors, even setting off helter-skelter gunfights.

The latest incident occurred Tuesday afternoon along the lawless road to the airport, the notorious "ambush alley" where homemade bombs often explode.

Unmarked vehicles bristling with security guards routinely careen down the road at high speed, carrying foreigners to and from the airport. Driving equally fast are suicide bombers, who hope to ram their explosive-laden vehicles into American military convoys.

Late Tuesday afternoon, soldiers in a U.S. Humvee spotted what they considered a suspicious car. They fired "six or seven rounds" at the tires, a security official said, providing information on condition of anonymity. There were no casualties.

The vehicle was carrying foreign security guards, whose identities and nationalities weren't released. The American troops quickly realized their mistake.

On Monday, it was a different story - and a lethal one -that illustrates the almost-electric tension on Baghdad's streets. When Iraqi police see unmarked cars with gun barrels poking out the windows, they understandably suspect that the cars may be carrying outlaws preparing to attack.

At about 10 a.m. local time, a police cruiser spotted a Korean-made white sedan near the Babylon Hotel in central Baghdad on a route often used by Interior Minister Falah Hassan al Naqib. The car reportedly had tinted windows and no license plate.

"The police started to shoot at the car," said Mohammed Khalif, a shopkeeper whose grocery is in front of the shootout site and is now marred by a shattered window.

Khalif said the white sedan carried three people. Coming under fire, one occupant broke a window, rolled out of the car and began firing back, Khalif said.

The foreigner killed one policeman and shot another in the left shoulder and abdomen, seriously wounding him, Khalif said; an Interior Ministry official confirmed his account. A passer-by also was wounded.

Another police cruiser arrived and took the foreigners into custody. They were released later that day.

Inside the car, police "found AK-47's and grenades," Khalif said. "All my neighbors and I saw their passports. They were foreigners."

Khalif didn't know the nationalities of the three men, but the Al-Jazeera television network showed images of a British passport for one of them.



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majorvictory64
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posted 28 November 2004 12:12 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Abu Hanifa and its terrorists

quote:
Omar Khan

11/27/04 "ICH" -- What gives violence legitimacy? Last Friday, in Baghdad, Iraqis attending mosque were interrupted by a US-led military assault. Several accounts of the event circulated in the hours following. Among them I would like to briefly compare two: one by an independent journalist and a second by a major newspaper.

Of organizations and operations

“As US Forces Raided a Mosque” http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/hard_news/000125.php opens with the statement that “U.S. soldiers raided the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad during Friday prayers, killing at least four and wounding up to 20 worshippers.” As a sequence of events, the episode is explained with an onset (“about 50 U.S. soldiers with 20 Iraqi National Guardsmen entered the mosque”) at a specified time (“12:30 pm”). A witness describes what follows: “Everyone starting yelling 'Allah u Akbar' (God is great) because they were frightened. Then the soldiers started shooting the people praying!” He continues, saying “they are holding our heads to the ground”; as this witness and others were collected, he recounts that he was able to escape detention when a young boy claimed to be of his relation. Testimony from two further witnesses corroborates this account, as does the extended audio version

http://www.fsrn.org/news/20041119_news.html

of this report that includes a recording of gunfire inside the mosque. In both versions of the report, it is noted that the US military prevented medical personnel from entering the mosque to treat the wounded. Then “about 30 men were led out with hoods over their heads and their hands tied behind them. Soldiers loaded them into a military vehicle and took them away around 3.15 pm.” After almost three hours, Red Crescent officials were able to attend to those inside the mosque, confirming nine wounded and four dead.

“GI’s and Iraqis Raid Mosque, Killing 3,” http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/international/middleeast/20iraq.html?oref=login though similarly titled, provides a different account. The article begins by amplifying its explicit subject (“American and Iraqi troops raided a prominent Sunni mosque in Baghdad on Friday”) for which a possible cause is given (it “may have been aimed at a cleric said to have incited insurgent violence”). This cause is then visited, substantiated: “In Mosul, in the north, Iraqi commanders staged numerous raids in search of rebel hideouts as up to a dozen decapitated bodies were found strewn about the city.” Returning 200 miles to the south, the article describes a “chaotic raid” following a “melee”; “blood splattered on the floor” (whose is unsaid) follows from the actions of “enraged worshipers” rather than that of those who opened fire on them. Note the Iraqi agency implicated, in contrast to the previous article: Iraqi rather than American soldiers are said to have opened fire, and it is Iraqis rather than Americans who supply the rationale. Such rationale is at once given at the highest level, “Ayad Allawi said imams who incited violence would be arrested,” and by an ordinary Iraqi: “Louay Ibrahim, an Iraqi police officer who was praying” recounts that “the imam at the mosque was giving a sermon that urged his audience to make Mosul and other Iraqi cities into embattled places.” US-appointed authorities appear representative (the perspective of the Prime minister is that of the praying police officer) as their account substantiates a cause: acts of violence of the sort discovered in Mosul—which it is suggested, finds their origin in Abu Hanifa. That is to say the assault on Abu Hanifa is represented first as a response to murderousness elsewhere in Iraq, and upon a second, more studied look, as a necessary preventative to such murderousness. The killings in Abu Hanifa—the subject of the report—appear a slight cost, relatively benign (however unfortunate) beside the evils unearthed in Mosul.



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majorvictory64
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posted 28 November 2004 12:29 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Smoking while Iraq burns

quote:
Naomi Klein

11/27/04 "The Guardian " -- Iconic images inspire love and hate, and so it is with the photograph of James Blake Miller, the 20-year-old marine from Appalachia, who has been christened "the face of Falluja" by pro-war pundits, and the "the Marlboro man" by pretty much everyone else. Reprinted in more than a hundred newspapers, the Los Angeles Times photograph shows Miller "after more than 12 hours of nearly non-stop, deadly combat" in Falluja, his face coated in war paint, a bloody scratch on his nose, and a freshly lit cigarette hanging from his lips.

Gazing lovingly at Miller, the CBS News anchor Dan Rather informed his viewers: "For me, this one's personal. This is a warrior with his eyes on the far horizon, scanning for danger. See it. Study it. Absorb it. Think about it. Then take a deep breath of pride. And if your eyes don't dampen, you're a better man or woman than I."

A few days later, the LA Times declared that its photo had "moved into the realm of the iconic". In truth, the image just feels iconic because it is so laughably derivative: it's a straight-up rip-off of the most powerful icon in American advertising (the Marlboro man), which in turn imitated the brightest star ever created by Hollywood - John Wayne - who was himself channelling America's most powerful founding myth, the cowboy on the rugged frontier. It's like a song you feel you've heard a thousand times before - because you have.

But never mind that. For a country that just elected a wannabe Marlboro man as its president, Miller is an icon and, as if to prove it, he has ignited his very own controversy. "Lots of children, particularly boys, play army, and like to imitate this young man. The clear message of the photo is that the way to relax after a battle is with a cigarette," wrote Daniel Maloney in a scolding letter to the Houston Chronicle. Linda Ortman made the same point to the editors of the Dallas Morning News: "Are there no photos of non-smoking soldiers?" A reader of the New York Post helpfully suggested more politically correct propaganda imagery: "Maybe showing a marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water would have a more positive impact on your readers."

Yes, that's right: letter writers from across the nation are united in their outrage - not that the steely-eyed, smoking soldier makes mass killing look cool, but that the laudable act of mass killing makes the grave crime of smoking look cool. Better to protect impressionable youngsters by showing soldiers taking a break from deadly combat by drinking water or, perhaps, since there is a severe potable water shortage in Iraq, Coke. (It reminds me of the joke about the Hassidic rabbi who says all sexual positions are acceptable except for one: standing up "because that could lead to dancing".)

On second thoughts, perhaps Miller does deserve to be elevated to the status of icon - not of the war in Iraq, but of the new era of supercharged American impunity. Because outside US borders, it is, of course, a different marine who has been awarded the prize as "the face of Falluja": the soldier captured on tape executing a wounded, unarmed prisoner in a mosque. Runners-up are a photograph of a two-year-old Fallujan in a hospital bed with one of his tiny legs blown off; a dead child lying in the street, clutching the headless body of an adult; and an emergency health clinic blasted to rubble.



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majorvictory64
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posted 29 November 2004 12:29 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The U.S. military has used poison gas and other non-conventional weapons against civilians in Fallujah, eyewitnesses report..

quote:
”Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah,” 35-year-old trader from Fallujah Abu Hammad told IPS. ”They used everything -- tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground.”

Hammad is from the Julan district of Fallujah where some of the heaviest fighting occurred. Other residents of that area report the use of illegal weapons.

”They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud,” Abu Sabah, another Fallujah refugee from the Julan area told IPS. ”Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.”

He said pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns. Phosphorous weapons as well as napalm are known to cause such effects. ”People suffered so much from these,” he said.

Macabre accounts of killing of civilians are emerging through the cordon U.S. forces are still maintaining around Fallujah.

”Doctors in Fallujah are reporting to me that there are patients in the hospital there who were forced out by the Americans,” said Mehdi Abdulla, a 33-year-old ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad. ”Some doctors there told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the doctors away and left the patient to die.”

Kassem Mohammed Ahmed who escaped from Fallujah a little over a week ago told IPS he witnessed many atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in the city.

”I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks,” he said. ”This happened so many times.”



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majorvictory64
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posted 29 November 2004 12:41 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Shadow of Vietnam Falls Over Iraq River Raids

quote:

Jason P. Howe for The New York Times

HARD DUWAISH, Iraq, Nov. 28 - As marines aboard fast patrol boats roared up the Euphrates on a dawn raid on Sunday, images pressed in of another American war where troops moved up wide rivers on camouflaged boats, with machine-gunners nervously scanning riverbanks for the hidden enemy.

That war is rarely mentioned among the American troops in Iraq, many of whom were not yet born when the last American combat units withdrew from Vietnam more than 30 years ago. A war that America did not win is considered a bad talisman among those men and women, who privately admit to fears that this war could be lost.

But as an orange moon sank below the bulrushes on Sunday morning, thoughts of Vietnam were hard to avoid.

Marines waded ashore through soft silted mud that caused some to sink to their waists, M-16 rifles held skyward as others on solid land held out their rifle barrels as lifelines.

Ashore, sodden and with boots squelching mud, the troops began a five-hour tramp through dense palm groves and across paddies crisscrossed by deep irrigation canals.

There were snatches of dialogue from "Apocalypse Now," and a black joke from one marine about the landscape resembling "a Vietnam theme park."



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majorvictory64
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National Guard Abuses Anger Public

quote:
By Hussein Ali al-Yasiri and Imad al-Shara in Baghdad (ICR No. 92, 29-Nov-04)

The US-backed and trained Iraqi National Guard is facing allegations of misconduct and ill-discipline.

Commanders of the nascent force - which replaced the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps after the transfer of sovereignty on June 28 - insist that its members behave professionally, but admit there are some “troublemakers” within its ranks.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of complaints about guardsmen beating and abusing members of the public.

Farook Shamran, an investigator at a police station in the al-Beya’a suburb of Baghdad, says he was not only beaten up and accused of being a terrorist by guardsmen, but also alleges that they stole a large sum of money from his vehicle.

“My brother-in-law and I were arrested by guardsmen who broke into our house one night. I showed them my police ID but they beat us both and then arrested us. We were in custody for two days, during which time they beat us again and accused us of being insurgents,” he said.

He says he was then handed over to the Americans who held him for almost three weeks, but the treatment he received from them was courteous and respectful.

“Eventually, I was released, but when I got back to my car, which the guards had kept the key to, I discovered they had taken the money I had left there. Almost 2,000 US dollars and two million Iraqi dinar [1300 dollars] had gone missing,” he continued.

“It was stolen money we had recovered from a gang we arrested, and technically it belongs to the government.

“I tried to follow up on the incident and get an explanation but no one would talk to me. This isn’t a police force - it’s a bunch of thugs in uniform. Unless the government sorts this out quickly, the National Guard will become useless and corrupt.”



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majorvictory64
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posted 01 December 2004 11:25 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From Guernica to Fallujah

quote:
"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 Fallujah." - Female Iraqi blogger Riverbend

Pepe Escobar

12/01/04 "Asia Times" -- The Fallujah offensive has virtually disappeared from the news cycle. But history - if written by Iraqis - may well enshrine it as the new Guernica. Paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre memorably writing about the Algerian War (1956-62), after Fallujah no two Americans shall meet without a corpse lying between them: the up to 500,000 victims of the sanctions in the 1990s, according to United Nations experts; the up to 100,000 victims since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, according to the British medical paper The Lancet; and at least 6,000 victims, and counting, in Fallujah, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent.

The new Guernica

Fallujah is the new Guernica. The residents of the Basque capital in 1937 were resisting the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Fallujah in 2004 was resisting the dictator Iyad Allawi, the US-installed interim premier. Franco asked Nazi Germany - which supported him - to bomb Guernica, just as Allawi "asked" the Pentagon to bomb Fallujah. Guernica had no air force and no anti-aircraft guns to defend itself - just like Fallujah. In Guernica - as in Fallujah - there was no distinction between civilians and guerrillas: the order was to "kill them all". The Nazis shouted "Viva la muerte!" ("Long live death") along with their fascist Spanish counterparts before bombing Guernica.

Marine commanders said on the record that Fallujah was the house of Satan. Franco denied the Guernica massacre and blamed the local population - just as Allawi and the Pentagon deny any civilian deaths and insist "insurgents" are guilty: after all, they dared to defend their own city, hiding inside their hundreds of formerly intact mosques.

Fallujah has been reduced to rubble, and thousands of civilians have died. But Asia Times Online sources in Baghdad confirm that according to residents, the southern - and larger - part of Fallujah is still controlled by the resistance; the Americans control only the north and some eastern spots. Small groups made up of five to 20 mujahideen still conduct hit-and-run attacks. More than 15,000 refugee families may be living in sordid makeshift shelters around Fallujah - not to mention the upwards of 200,000 residents who escaped the city before it was leveled.



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majorvictory64
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Rising insurgent activity reported west of Fallujah

quote:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A resurgence in armed actions broke out Tuesday in areas west of Fallujah along a key highway leading to Jordan, just weeks after a massive U.S.-led military offensive in the city.

Heavily armed anti-American insurgents on Tuesday took over and briefly held nine police stations and highway checkpoints, blowing up two buildings, police said.

Drivers reported that insurgents also took control of large sections of the highway leading west out of Iraq, stopping traffic and shaking down passengers.

"The government will send elements from the National Guard to control the highway since the insurgents are now controlling a large part of it," police Lt. Hameed Delemi said.

The takeover of police installations came on a day of bombings against U.S. military convoys elsewhere.

The worst was in Beiji, an oil-refining town in the north, as a U.S. military convoy went through a bustling area of shops.

A car bomb killed seven civilians and wounded at least 15 people. Two of the wounded were American soldiers.

In a simultaneous attack elsewhere in Beiji, 110 miles north of Baghdad, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. tank, wounding a soldier.

Five American soldiers were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his car along the perilous road from Baghdad to its international airport, destroying an armored military truck.

The blast left a large crater in the road.

U.S. forces said an American soldier died late Monday after an explosion hit his patrol north of Baghdad.

The armed actions west of Fallujah came just weeks after some 10,000 American troops stormed the city in the bloodiest urban military campaign for U.S. forces since the Vietnam War.

The offensive left 53 American soldiers dead. Many U.S. troops remain in and near the city.



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majorvictory64
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Gunning for Satan resulted in slaughtered innocents

quote:
02 Dec 2004

By Robert C. Koehler Tribune Media Services

“The enemy has got a face,” a Marine lieutenant-colonel told an embedded reporter just before the invasion began. “He’s called Satan. He lives in Fallujah. And we’re going to destroy him.”

And with that fair warning, 10,000 or so heavily armed avenging angels descended on a latter-day Sodom and reduced it to rubble. It was jihad with a yahoo, “a return to the simplicity of combat,” wrote Paul Wood of the BBC, “after the complexities of peacekeeping and an enemy that never shows itself.”

Who knew there was such a fine line between democracy and genocide? Destroying a city in order to save it is back in style, as long as a queasy public is spared raw footage of the details.

Yeah, NBC aired that video of the injured Iraqi in the mosque: Ka-blam! “He’s dead now!” But as usual, the war criminal was a low-level grunt; appalled higher-ups, their holy war momentarily interrupted, took refuge behind their love of the Geneva Conventions and the Iraqi people, and promised a full investigation.

What a weird war. We’re officially ashamed of what we’re doing and get indignant not so much at criticism of our actions as unvarnished documentation of them. NBC, for its part, took pains to apologize to the country for being unable to fit its troublesome footage into the big, reassuring picture of American compassion. And except for that aberration, mainstream journalists have mostly behaved themselves, only giving us news embedded in official context: 1,200 insurgents (and no civilians) dead, the January elections on track, a great victory for the forces of good.

Thanks to them, George Orwell still has our number. “The nationalist,” he wrote in 1945, “not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Actually, I think Orwell (who was quoted in an excellent piece by Linda S. Heard, writing recently for al-Jazeera), is only half right. We do disapprove of atrocities; Abu Ghraib, after all, was a PR nightmare. Public enthusiasm for war is a lot more iffy than it used to be. That makes “not even hearing about the atrocities” all the more crucial. It’s a lot easier to support our troops if we don’t know exactly what they’re doing.

So most of us are not going to read about children in Fallujah bleeding to death from shrapnel wounds because they can’t get medical attention. Nor will we hear about Abrams tanks firing randomly into residential neighborhoods or families huddled in their houses wondering where the next bomb or shell is going to hit.



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majorvictory64
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posted 04 December 2004 12:46 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone

quote:
*Journalists and residents who have fled Fallujah share accounts of US troops killing unarmed and wounded people; Dahr Jamail continues interviewing survivors as images of a city under US assault further emerge.*

by Dahr Jamail

Baghdad , Dec 3 " NewStandard" -- Men now seeking refuge in the Baghdad area are telling horrific stories of indiscriminate killings by US forces during the peak of fighting last month in the largely annihilated city of Fallujah.

In an interview with The NewStandard, Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist who works for the popular Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC, said he witnessed US crimes up close. Burhan Fasa’a, who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English.

"Americans did not have interpreters with them," Fasa’a said, "so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English."

A man named Khalil, who asked The NewStandard not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city. Fasa’a further speculated, "Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn’t understand them."

Fasa’a says American troops detained him. They interrogated him specifically about working for the Arab media, he said, and held him for three days. Fasa’a and other prisoners slept on the ground with no blankets. He said prisoners were made to go to the bathroom in handcuffs, using one toilet in the middle of the camp.

"During the nine days I was in Fallujah, all of the wounded women, kids and old people, none of them were evacuated," Fasa’a said. "They either suffered to death, or somehow survived."

Many refugees tell stories of having witnessed US troops killing already injured people, including former fighters and noncombatants alike.



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majorvictory64
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posted 04 December 2004 09:12 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Firebombing Falluja

quote:
The United States is using napalm in Falluja. So far, the military has denied the allegations, but the proof is mounting. On Nov. 28 The Daily Mirror’s political editor, Paul Gilfeather filed a report stating: “US troops are secretly using outlawed napalm gas to wipe out remaining insurgents in and around Fallujah. News that President George W. Bush has sanctioned the use of napalm, a deadly cocktail of polystyrene and jet fuel banned by the United Nations in 1980, will stun governments around the world.”

For over a week rumors have circulated in the Arab press that both napalm and other chemical weapons were used mainly in the Jolan district of Falluja, a major area of the fighting. Now, despite a US media blackout, more evidence is leaking out and causing a furor in the British Parliament. As Gilfeather reports: “Last night Tony Blair was dragged into the row as furious Labour MPs demanded he face the Commons over it. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh.”

Blair is being pressed by furious MP’s to clarify whether or not he knew that the “banned weapon” was being used. He is also being asked to withdraw British troops if the US continues its use of napalm. As of this writing, Blair’s response remains unknown.

The US has already admitted that it used napalm during the siege of Baghdad. The truth was reluctantly confirmed by the Pentagon after news reports corroborated the evidence. The military has tried to conceal the truth by saying that there is a distinction between its new weapon and “traditional napalm”. The “improved” product carries the Pentagon moniker “Mark 77 firebombs” and uses jet fuel to “decrease environmental damage”. The fact that military planner’s even considered “environmental damage” while developing the tools for incinerating human beings, gives us some insight into the deep vein of cynicism that permeates their ranks.



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majorvictory64
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posted 05 December 2004 12:13 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Navy Investigating Photos That May Show Prisoner Abuse

quote:
CORONADO, Calif. -- 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. It is unclear who took the pictures, which the Navy said it was investigating after the AP furnished copies to get comment for this story.

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.

"These photographs raise a number of important questions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) and detainees," Navy Cmdr. Jeff Bender, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, said in a written response to questions. "I can assure you that the matter will be thoroughly investigated."

The photos were turned over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which instructed the SEAL command to determine whether they show any serious crimes, Bender said Friday. That investigation will determine the identities of the troops and what they were doing in the photos.

Some of the photos recall aspects of the images from Abu Ghraib, which led to charges against seven soldiers accused of humiliating and assaulting prisoners. In several of the photos obtained by the AP, grinning men wearing U.S. flags on their uniforms, and one with a tattoo of a SEAL trident, take turns sitting or lying atop what appear to be three hooded and handcuffed men in the bed of a pickup truck.

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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majorvictory64
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posted 05 December 2004 12:11 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Returning Fallujans will face clampdown

quote:
By Anne Barnard, Globe Staff | December 5, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The US military is drawing up plans to keep insurgents from regaining control of this battle-scarred city, but returning residents may find that the measures make Fallujah look more like a police state than the democracy they have been promised.

Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned.

Marine commanders working in unheated, war-damaged downtown buildings are hammering out the details of their paradoxical task: Bring back the 300,000 residents in

time for January elections without letting in insurgents, even though many Fallujans were among the fighters who ruled the city until the US assault drove them out in November, and many others cooperated with fighters out of conviction or fear.

One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.

"You have to say, 'Here are the rules,' and you are firm and fair. That radiates stability," said Lieutenant Colonel Dave Bellon, intelligence officer for the First Regimental Combat Team, the Marine regiment that took the western half of Fallujah during the US assault and expects to be based downtown for some time.



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kukuchai
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posted 05 December 2004 05:24 PM      Profile for kukuchai        Edit/Delete Post
Yahoo Democracy! DNA testing, retina scans, and badges! I'm sure Hitler would have used the first two, if he'd had 'em, and he did use the third except the ones Hitler distributed had little pink triangles or a Star of David.

And when will it be our turn?


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Cueball
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posted 05 December 2004 05:50 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Uhhh lets not forget the forced labour working for Organization Todt...

quote:
One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.


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kukuchai
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posted 05 December 2004 08:24 PM      Profile for kukuchai        Edit/Delete Post
Oh yes, forced labour. Do they get fish head soup once a day too?
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kukuchai
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posted 05 December 2004 09:53 PM      Profile for kukuchai        Edit/Delete Post
And then I found this quote:

Infamous Quote from Hermann Goering,

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."


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majorvictory64
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posted 05 December 2004 11:34 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Carnage becoming Routine in Iraq: Another Bloody Sunday

quote:
ArabNews summarizes the carnage in Iraq on Sunday.

Tikrit: Guerrillas ambushed a bus as it let off Iraqis working for the US military at a weapons dump in Tikrit on Sunday morning around 8:30 am, spraying it with machine-gun fire and then fleeing. They killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded another 13. (The incident shows that the guerrillas are perfectly happy to kill Sunni Arabs as well as members of other groups). I wonder if their employment at a weapons dump was a motive for the shooting? Were these Iraqi civilians helping detonate munitions that the guerrillas would prefer to loot?

Baiji Around 8:30 am, a guerrilla drove a car bomb into a checkpoint in Baiji manned by Iraqi National Guardsmen. He detonated his payload, killing three of the Guards and wounding 18. One of those killed was a company commander.

Samarra Guerrillas staged an ambush of National Guards as they patrolled this largely Sunni city an hour's drive north of Baghdad, killing one guardsman and wounding another 4.

LatifiyahGuerrillas ambushed Iraqi National Guards jointly patrolling with US troops in this small city south of Baghdad, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding 6.

Guerrillas used roadside bombs to kill, altogether, 4 US troops in Baghdad, Baqubah and Mosul over the weekend.

ArabNews writes, "About 40 small, mostly Sunni political parties met yesterday to demand the elections be postponed by six months, but stopped short of calling for a boycott." They warned again that if the Sunni Arabs do not or cannot take part in their proportion to the population, the resulting government will lack legitimacy.


[ 06 December 2004: Message edited by: majorvictory64 ]


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Baghdad worse than ever, says Hill

quote:
By Patrick Walters
December 6, 2004

ROBERT Hill has learnt first-hand the new perils involved in visiting strife-torn Baghdad.

Such has been the escalation of violence in the run-up to the January 30 elections that for the first time in four visits, the Defence Minister could not make it to the centre of the Iraqi capital last Friday.

So dangerous has the main highway to and from the airport become, with daily suicide bomb attacks, he did not visit the Australian embassy or the Green Zone that comprises the headquarters of the US-led coalition forces in Iraq.

"This is the first time I've been unable to do that. It's very dangerous - a number of countries are no longer travelling along it," Senator Hill told The Australian yesterday.

"I would have (travelled into central Baghdad) if we'd had a helicopter, but they were being used for more important tasks."

Senator Hill's visit coincided with a surge of violence in Iraq that killed more than 60 people over the weekend and led senior UN official Lakhdar Brahimi to warn that holding elections would be "impossible" in the current security environment.

Senator Hill acknowledged Iraq's central area, including Baghdad, was going through a "very difficult phase".

"I would say it's more violent than on any of my previous visits," he said.

"It's a more dangerous place than it's been since the downfall of Saddam's regime. The insurgency is really quite intensive and extensive."

Instead of making the hazardous run into the city, Senator Hill travelled in an armoured convoy to the US-run Camp Victory, a short distance from Baghdad airport.



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majorvictory64
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U.N. Envoy Says Iraq Is a 'Mess'

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Lakhdar Brahimi tells a paper that he doubts it is possible to hold an election amid the violence. Two car bombs leave 14 people dead.

By Alissa J. Rubin
Times Staff Writer

12/05/04 "Los Angeles Times" -- BAGHDAD — Car bombs wreaked havoc in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 14 people, as the U.N. special envoy to Iraq said the election scheduled for the end of January might have to be postponed.

A delay in the election would anger many Shiite Muslims, who are expected to win the largest portion of the seats in the transitional national assembly to be chosen in the vote.

And it would derail American plans to begin reducing the number of troops in Iraq next year.

Four U.S. troops died Saturday. Two were killed in an attack in Mosul, the military said, and two others were killed by roadside bombs in Baghdad and Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of the capital. The military also announced that a suicide car bombing Friday killed two members of the U.S.-led forces near Trebil, a town close to the border with Jordan. Their nationalities were not given.

In one of the car bombings targeting Iraqis on Saturday, seven people were killed at the Karkh police station, one of the larger police offices in Baghdad. Although the tactic of targeting police stations is not new, the insurgents appear to be using it now to undermine voter confidence. The police and the Iraqi national guard will be responsible for protecting polling stations on election day.

In an article published in a Dutch newspaper Saturday, U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said bluntly, "It is a mess in Iraq." Asked whether it was possible to hold elections under current conditions, Brahimi said, "If the circumstances stay as they are, I don't think so," according to a Reuters report on the article.



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majorvictory64
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Gunmen seek U.S. collaborators in Baghdad

quote:
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Brazen gunmen firing automatic weapons roamed Baghdad's streets today within blocks of the country's most fortified facilities, including the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters of Iraq's interim government. Five more American troops were killed in volatile Anbar province.

A dawn attack on a domestic oil pipeline supplying fuel from northern Iraq to Baghdad and clashes that killed three militants in the country's turbulent west underlined the security difficulties ahead of Jan. 30 national elections.

The heavily armed insurgents have been emboldened by a spate of attacks across Iraq that have claimed more than 80 lives in recent days, mostly Iraqis working for the coalition or Iraqi national security forces.

Taking their fight to Baghdad today, militants strolled the capital's streets, saying they were hunting for Iraqis working for U.S.-led forces.

On Haifa Street, witnesses said the gunmen killed an Iraqi employed by coalition authorities. They then moved on foot and battled U.S. troops just hundreds of yards from the Green Zone, a heavily guarded compound where American and Iraqi forces protect government officials, diplomats and private contractors.

By midday, the attackers had scattered. The U.S. military said it had no details.



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majorvictory64
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posted 08 December 2004 11:59 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
American Combat Deaths in Iraq Hit 1,001

quote:
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Guerrillas carried out a series of raids in the city of Samarra on Wednesday, stealing weapons from a police station, blowing it up, and exchanging fire with police and U.S. troops. At least five Iraqis were killed, and the city police chief resigned.

Also Wednesday, the U.S. military said the number of American combat deaths in Iraq (news - web sites) since the start of the war rose to 1,001; the latest reported was a soldier slain by small-arms fire in Baghdad on Tuesday. The total number who have died since March 2003 is 1,278, according to an Associated Press tally.

Underscoring security concerns, the Interior Ministry backed interim Prime Ministry Ayad Allawi's reported proposal to spread elections planned for Jan. 30 over up to three weeks in hopes of allowing people to vote safely. The decision ultimately belongs to Iraq's electoral commission; a top official there said Allawi had not mentioned the idea.

Insurgents have threatened to target the upcoming vote and already are waging a deadly campaign against security forces and police, killing dozens of people.

The fighting in Samarra, a city 60 miles from Baghdad, began when gunmen stormed a police station, looted its armory and then blew up the building, police said. A policeman and a child standing nearby were killed in clashes before the insurgents fled.

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car near Bradley fighting vehicles parked outside an American base in Samarra, wounding an Iraqi civilian, and insurgents attacked American forces elsewhere in the city with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades. No U.S. casualties were reported.

At about the same time, American soldiers came under attack by small-arms fire near a traffic intersection, but no one was hurt. The soldiers began checking cars and fired at two vehicles that failed to stop, killing both drivers, the military said.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 11 December 2004 04:14 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. soldier gets 3 years for Iraqi teen's murder

quote:
A U.S. soldier was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to killing a severely wounded Iraqi teenager, the military said Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne Jr., 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., also received a reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of wages and a dishonorable discharge.


What the fuck? You shoot dogs to put them out of their misery, not human beings.

[ 11 December 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 11 December 2004 04:51 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fallujah Pictures

quote:
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.

Information with some of the photos is from those identified by family members already.

One of the family members who was looking for dead relatives, shared these photos which were taken from that book.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he told of what he saw in his village during the last few weeks.

“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 don’t know they aren’t supposed to use them. No signs in English or Arabic!”

Here are the photos.



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majorvictory64
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posted 11 December 2004 10:20 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Freedom at a terrible price

quote:
REVIEWED BY BURHAN WAZIR



To understand the current insurgency in Iraq, one must return to April 28, 2003 — the day when relations between locals and US troops started to head south. Three weeks after a bronze edifice of Saddam Hussein was pulled to the ground in Firdus Square, Baghdad, 13 Iraqis were killed when US forces opened fire on demonstrators in Fallujah, an almost exclusively Sunni town of about 250,000 inhabitants situated on a bend in the Euphrates. As locals started to bury their dead, back in Firdus Square Iraqi resistance was expressed in graffiti painted on the vacant base where Saddam once stood monumental. “All donne,” read the sign, imperfect in its spelling but unmistakable in intent. “Go home.”

The portrait of Fallujah, a town which until recently was run by Sunni warlords as a jihadist dominion — its clerics brutalised its inhabitants and harnessed the desert landscape for a campaign of murders, kidnappings, suicide bombings, ambushes and, according to some reports, beheadings — illustrates the semi-dreamlike tone of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Iraq, by Christian Parenti, a furious jeremiad against the country’s post-Baathist rulers.

After the April 28 killings in Fallujah, Iraq erupted in a series of uprisings. On July 31, about 10,000 men in Najaf enlisted in the Islamic army set up by Moqtada al-Sadr, the self-appointed leader of Shia opposition. This culminated in the audacious bombing of the United Nations’ mission headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, killing Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN’s Special Representative to the country, and 21 fellow workers.

Parenti — a regular contributor to The Nation whose previous works include Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis — finds Fallujah a microcosm of a wider Iraqi quandary. American Marines, “big-boned, well armed, often meaning well but almost always totally ignorant of who and what they are dealing with”, clash with dissenting clerics, local shooters and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

No less perilous are his encounters with the disciples of war, extreme tourists and joyriders like Michael Tucker who have a scent for the battlefront. Tucker, armed with a Gurkha knife, wears pale desert camouflage under a Peshmerga vest and carries a satchel that reads, “Mike Tucker, Author”, written with a black magic marker. He toasts the “gods of war” and eulogises the redemptive power of “the force”. As an author, Tucker claims to have written a book on the Kurds. In fact, he has never been published. Of the encounter, Parenti writes: “It is the Conradian end of the river where empire’s lawless opportunities mix with personal madness to form a potent political and psychedelic cocktail.”




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majorvictory64
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posted 12 December 2004 03:08 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Marines hunt down Fallujah's strays to head off rabies threat

quote:
Their quarry is stray animals grown fat on the flesh from corpses and who could harbor rabies.

The marines gather briefly over a pile of trash, one pointing across the dirt lot to a row of burned out homes where moments before a dog was seen loping for cover amid the ruined buildings.

"I think we wounded a couple and they took off that way," he said, as another marine pulled his quarry onto a ridge, its bloodied head rolling side to side in the dust.

As their numbers have swelled, so has the risk the animals pose to the tens of thousands of people expected to return to Fallujah in the coming weeks. The marines have been told to organize special details to "thin out" the battered city's animal population.

...

But there was none of the bloodlust that many marines say they felt last month as they stormed the Sunni-Muslim enclave and wrested it away from insurgents during several days of vicious fighting.

A gunnery sergeant stalked past the convoy, tersely ordering his executioners to put on surgical gloves before handling the dead animals, his mouth pulled into the tight grimace of a man trying to finish the job before him as quickly as possible.

"This is hard on these guys, especially killing the dogs. But these animals have been eating dead bodies.


[ 12 December 2004: Message edited by: majorvictory64 ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 13 December 2004 01:35 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US forces pursue the old enemy in new Iraqi hot spot

quote:
By Jack Fairweather in Mosul
(Filed: 13/12/2004)

There is a body zipped up in a bag lying by the side of the street. Behind it is a lorry with its windscreen dotted with bullet holes.

The man was shot by B company, Deuce-4 battalion, as they were ambushed uncovering explosives by the side of the road on the western fringe of Mosul.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is said to have fled Fallujah for Mosul, inciting insurgents there
The soldiers think he was just a lorry driver but they are not sure. One shouts that he can see Iraqis running for cover. Somewhere between the nearby houses shots ring out. The ambushers are still out there.

There is a war being fought in Mosul. It is not the pitched battle seen last month in Fallujah when insurgents stood, fought and were soundly beaten.

This is where the enemy fades in and out of the local population, untraceable until he strikes. It shows no signs of abating.

"What they're dealing with now is an insurgency gone to ground, reorganising, and looking for its next base of operations," said a senior American diplomat in Baghdad.

The US military believes that hundreds of insurgents fled Fallujah, most before the fighting began.

They include Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist ringleader. US intelligence reports indicate that he arrived in the Mosul area of northern Iraq while the fighting was still raging in Fallujah. His arrival appears to have had a devastating effect.

On Nov 23, teams of insurgents stormed five police stations in the city, setting them alight before handing them over to looters. A recently completed Iraqi army base to the south of Iraq's third-largest city was left a wreck in a further attack.

US army units were rushed northwards to contain the violence but most of the damage had been done. For the past month the Iraqi police force has refused to go back to work.



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majorvictory64
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posted 14 December 2004 12:18 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Humvees falling prey to war

quote:
By Bruce Wallace
Los Angeles Times

DAVID SWANSON / KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
A U.S. Marine tries to drive a damaged Humvee after an ambush in Ramadi against American troops last April. The Marines and Army have almost 20,000 Humvees in Iraq.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq — This is a graveyard for Humvees, the final resting place for the hulking vehicles felled by insurgents' roadside bombs.

In a parking lot, the U.S. military's most common personnel carriers lie flattened with noses down in the mud. Their metal carcasses are barely recognizable. Tires have been splayed to the sides or blown away entirely. Shrapnel has burst holes in some unprotected parts of the vehicles, as if they were tinfoil.

The nine mangled Humvees here have been destroyed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, as the military calls them.

"Now this one here, you can see the IED tore the whole back end off the vehicle. It's just gone," said Sgt. Patrick Parchment of 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which operates south of Baghdad.

"The front is sitting cockeyed. And that's steel," he said, showing another severed vehicle.

The blasted remains do not offer much optimism about the fate of the Marines who had been riding in them. Sixteen Marines of the 24th MEU have died since arriving here in July; 259 more have been wounded. The majority of the casualties resulted from IEDs, as Marines must run a daily gantlet of the roadside bombs on highways and dirt roads that cut through farms.

The Marines and Army have almost 20,000 Humvees in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. But a quarter of them lack proper shields.

The lack of armor triggered an uproar last week when a Tennessee National Guardsman told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that troops had to forage for scrap metal to weld to their vehicles for protection. The confrontation, at a U.S. base in Kuwait, raised questions about whether the Pentagon was doing enough to provide armor and other safety equipment for the 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

The visit to the Humvee cemetery here occurred before Rumsfeld's meeting with the troops.



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Rufus Polson
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posted 14 December 2004 02:45 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I find myself wondering just how much materiel overall the resistance is destroying. It's not as dramatic, nor as morally important, as human lives. But it has its own significance.

Of course, the military contractors and their administration cronies don't care. The more wastage, the more contracts, the more money they can suck out of the taxpayer.

But broader elites and, if any of them ever wake up, those taxpayers themselves, may start to wonder about it as more billions of bucks get sucked into Iraq and the deficits keep mounting. The whole thing is good for the military contractors, it's good even for GDP numbers I expect, but it can't in the end be good for the real economy to be spending a bunch of effort making stuff and chucking it into a hole.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 16 December 2004 02:06 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Eyewitness Interview: "Iraq Is An Absolute Disaster"

quote:
The Leonard Lopate Show

Journalist Michael Ware is the Baghdad Bureau Chief for Time Magazine. He was embedded in Fallujah during the recent US offensive earlier this month, and has covered the war in Iraq since February 2003. He joins us today with his perspective on the situation in Iraq.

CLICK PLAY TO LISTEN



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 16 December 2004 12:11 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Blood and treasure

quote:
by kos
Mon Dec 13th, 2004 at 09:32:23 PST

The war cost in blood:
1,440 allied killed
1,294 U.S. killed
2.27 killed per day
9,766 U.S. wounded in action

The New England Journal of Medicine notes that 10 percent of wounded in action die -- the best survival rate in US military history. But the carnage is gruesome.

That picture is one of the tamest of the bunch. This soldier's vital organs were protected by his kevlar vest. The rest of his body was in considerable less luck. That casualties like this one survive these types of injuries is nothing short of miraculous.

Meanwhile, there's the cost in treasure. Nearly $150 billion and counting.

Twenty-one months after U.S. forces entered Iraq, the Defense Department is only now coming to terms with the equipment shortages caused by the prolonged fighting there. The Pentagon has prepared an unprecedented emergency spending plan totaling nearly $100 billion -- as much as $30 billion more than expected as recently as October -- say senior defense officials and congressional budget aides. About $14 billion of that would go to repairing, replacing and upgrading an increasingly frayed arsenal.
That's $100 billion more than the $150 billion already spent. And there's no letup in sight. All of that money for a war that was supposed to have paid for itself through Iraqi oil revenues.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 17 December 2004 03:15 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Almost 900 children lost a parent in Iraq; how they cope

quote:
By LISA HOFFMAN and ANNETTE RAINVILLE
Scripps Howard News Service
December 15, 2004

- Sad to the depths of his 4-year-old soul, Jack Shanaberger knew what he didn't want to be when he grows up: a father.

"I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die," the child solemnly told his mother after his father, Staff Sgt. Wentz "Baron" Shanaberger, a military policeman from Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed March 23 in an ambush in Iraq.

On that terrible day, Jack and his four siblings joined the ranks of the largely overlooked American casualties who, until now, have gone uncounted. Although almost daily official announcements tally the war dead, the collateral damage to the children left behind has not been detailed.

But, from Defense Department casualty reports, obituaries and accounts in hometown newspapers, and family interviews, Scripps Howard News Service has identified nearly 900 U.S. children who have lost a parent in the war, from the start of the conflict in March 2003 through November, when a total of 1,256 troops had died.

Although comparably specific historical data is not available for other U.S. wars, military experts said the proportionally higher number of American children left bereaved by the Iraq war is unprecedented.

"This is a new state of affairs we have to confront," said Charles Moskos, a leading military sociologist and Northwestern University professor.

Overall, Americans in uniform today are far more likely to be married and have children than in the military of the past, Moskos and others said. And the reliance in Iraq on reserve forces - who tend to be older and even more settled than active-duty soldiers - also means more offspring at home.

Even though the federal government provides an array of benefits for widows, widowers and minor children, more help is needed - including counseling - for at least 882 American children left without a parent from the war in Iraq.

"As much as we are concerned about veterans' programs, we now have to be concerned about orphan programs," Moskos said. "This is the first time we have crossed this threshold."



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 18 December 2004 12:47 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For faith and country: Iraqi resistance fights on

quote:
As a US general conceded Iraqi cells are getting more effective, Rory McCarthy speaks to two fighters

12/16/04 "The Guardian" -- He sat at a plain white table in a deserted building not far from Haifa Street, a stronghold of militancy in the heart of the Iraqi capital. Before him was a tray bearing cups of sweet dark tea and a plate of bananas, and as American helicopter gunships carved circles in the sky above, he described how he had become the commander of a hardline Islamic cell in the Iraqi insurgency. The man, in his mid-30s with a trimmed dark beard, studious black-rimmed spectacles and a red-and-white keffiyeh thrown loosely over his shoulders, gave his name only as Abu Mojahed.

Before the war he had been a labourer in Baghdad and was jailed four times under Saddam Hussein's regime because of his adherence to the Salafi creed of Sunni Islam, a strict and conservative belief. He would gather with friends for secret Salafi classes and discussions.

He did not fight when America invaded last year, but did not welcome the war either. "I didn't fight. I stayed at home. If you fight for Saddam and he wins, you are not winning. If America wins, you are not winning," he said. "They freed us from evil but they brought more evil to the country."

As the weeks passed, the clerics in the mosques instructed him and his friends to take up arms."We fight the Americans because they are non-believers and they are coming to fight Islam, calling us terrorists," he said.

Theirs is a story rarely told, a brief insight into the lives of thousands of Iraqi men who have spent the past 18 months fighting a costly guerrilla war against the most powerful army in the world.

Their motivations vary: some are undoubtedly from Saddam's military and intelligence apparatus, others fight to defend tribal or nationalistic honour, but alongside them a much more extreme Islamic militancy has emerged.

The US military has in the past dismissed the fighters as "anti-Iraqi forces" and "terrorists". Several US commanders announced that the back of the insurgency has been broken by the assault on Falluja.

However, Lieutenant General Lance Smith, deputy chief of US central command, told Reuters yesterday: "[The insurgency] is becoming more effective. They may use doorbells today to blow things up. They may use remote controls from toys to morrow. And as we adapt, they adapt."



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 21 December 2004 03:31 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nearly 1,300 Lives Lost - And For What?

quote:
by Jules Witcover

At Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, a 20-year-old soldier, Army Spc. David P. Mahlenbrock from the idyllic-sounding hometown of Maple Shade, N.J., was buried in a scene often repeated there and around the country these days.

Specialist Mahlenbrock was killed two weeks ago in Iraq by an insurgent's bomb on a road in Kirkuk.

He left a 19-year-old wife and 2-month-old daughter.

What makes the death of this soldier particularly poignant is that only a short time ago he was back in Maple Shade on leave and made DVDs of himself reading his daughter bedtime stories. The videos remain as her introduction to a father she will never otherwise know.

According to an account of the burial in The Washington Post, Specialist Mahlenbrock earlier had written a letter to some comrades in arms in Iraq telling them how he wanted his possessions shared in the event he was killed.

"If you're reading this," he wrote, "I just hope it wasn't for nothing."

The soldier's concern is one that is increasingly inspired by the tragedy of errors begun by President Bush's war of choice, in which its original premises have proved invalid, and continued by incredible demonstrations of incompetence and arrogance at the top.

Both traits were amply demonstrated last week by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in Kuwait, when a soldier complained that he and his buddies have to scrounge through local landfills for metal with which to fashion protective armor for their vehicles.

Mr. Rumsfeld's reply that "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time" brushed aside the fact that a war of choice should never be undertaken without the Army you need. This is especially so when the commander in chief assures the nation that its military men and women will have all they need to protect them.

On the day before young Specialist Mahlenbrock's burial at Arlington, President Bush, across the Potomac River at the White House, bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, on three men, one who played a critical role in Mr. Bush's decision to invade Iraq and two others involved in its implementation.



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Briguy
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posted 06 January 2005 09:24 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Drowned in the Tigris

quote:
An Iraqi civilian testified Wednesday that he and his cousin were forced at gunpoint into the murky Tigris River and that U.S. soldiers laughed while the two struggled against the current.

Marwan Fadel Hassoun said he struggled to shore and tried to save his 19-year-old cousin by grabbing his hand, but the powerful waters swept Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun to his death.

``He was calling my name, said 'Help me! Help me!''' Marwan Hassoun testified through an interpreter on the second day of the military trial for Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins, 33.


Hearts and minds.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 06 January 2005 08:52 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It sounds like Perkins might get a transfer out of his unit, or something, for that.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 07 January 2005 12:52 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nine American Troops Killed in Iraq

quote:
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A roadside bomb killed seven U.S. soldiers in northwest Baghdad and two Marines were killed in western Iraq (news - web sites) on Thursday, the deadliest day for American forces since a suicide attack on a U.S. base last month.

The bombing came as Iraq extended a state of emergency by 30 days to battle militants whose attacks have surged ahead of this month's elections. The prime minister warned the number of assaults would only rise as voting day draws closer.

Just three weeks before the Jan. 30 elections, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq acknowledged that security is poor in four of 18 Iraqi provinces. But Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz told a briefing in the capital that delaying the vote would only increase the danger.

"I can't guarantee that every person in Iraq that wants to vote, goes to a polling booth and can do that safely," Metz said. "We're going to do everything possible to create that condition for them, but we are fighting an enemy who cares less who he kills, when he kills and how he kills. A delay in the elections just gives the thugs and terrorists more time to continue their intimidation, their cruelty, their brutal murders of innocent people."

The soldiers with Task Force Baghdad were on patrol Thursday evening when their Bradley fighting vehicle hit the explosive, the military said in a statement. Everyone inside the Bradley was killed.

No other details were immediately available about the latest attack. But Iraq's insurgents have frequently targeted American troops with crude explosives planted in roads and detonated remotely as patrols pass.


I don't think "crude explosives" can demolish fully armoured tracked vehicles. A large quantity of plastic explosives could, like the kind looted from unguarded arms dumps earlier in the war.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
aRoused
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posted 09 January 2005 09:14 AM      Profile for aRoused     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Bombs Iraqi house by mistake

quote:
BAGHDAD - An F-16 jet mistakenly bombed a house outside Mosul Saturday that killed five people, the United States military reported.

The owner of the house, Ali Yousef differs, saying the 225-kilogram bomb killed 14 people, including seven children.


However, note the language used in apologizing:

quote:
"The house was not the intended target for the air strike," the military said in a statement. "The intended target was another location nearby."

"Multi-National Force Iraq deeply regrets the loss of possibly innocent lives," the statement said, adding that an investigation was underway.


Way to go, guys. Even if the house had 'Al-Qaeda hideout' painted on the roof, you should be smart enough to know that a mistaken bomb drop like that is going to be seen unfavourably, the more so if you start using weasel-words in your statement. Or were you planning on interrogating the charred corpses?


From: The King's Royal Burgh of Eoforwich | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 11 January 2005 12:20 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The aftermath of Falluja: City of Ghosts

quote:
I wanted to ask Dr Adnan Chaichan about the wounded. I found him at the main hospital in Falluja at midday. He told me that all the doctors and medical staff were locked into the hospital at the beginning of the attack and not allowed out to treat anyone. The Iraqi National Guard, acting under US orders, had tied him and all the other doctors up inside the main hospital. The US had surrounded the hospital, while the National Guard had seized all their mobile phones and satellite phones, and left them with no way of communicating with the outside world. Chaichan seemed angrier with the National Guards than with anyone else.

He said that the phone lines inside the town were working, so wounded people in Falluja were calling the hospital and crying, and he was trying to give instructions over the phone to the local clinics and the mosques on how to treat the wounds. But nobody could get to the main hospital where all the supplies were and people were bleeding to death in the city.

It was late afternoon when I drove out of Falluja and back to Baghdad, feeling that I had just scratched the surface of what really happened there. But it is clear that by completely destroying this Sunni city, with the help of a mostly Shia National Guard, the US military has fanned the seeds of a civil war that is definitely coming. If there are elections now and the Shia win, that war is certain. The people I spoke to had no plans to vote. No one I met in those five days had a ballot paper.



From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 18 January 2005 11:13 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hotel Room Journalism

quote:
By ROBERT FISK
The Independent

Baghdad.

"Hotel journalism" is the only phrase for it. More and more Western reporters in Baghdad are reporting from their hotels rather than the streets of Iraq's towns and cities. Some are accompanied everywhere by hired, heavily armed Western mercenaries. A few live in local offices from which their editors refuse them permission to leave. Most use Iraqi stringers, part-time correspondents who risk their lives to conduct interviews for American or British journalists, and none can contemplate a journey outside the capital without days of preparation unless they "embed" themselves with American or British forces.

Rarely, if ever, has a war been covered by reporters in so distant and restricted a way. The New York Times correspondents live in Baghdad behind a massive stockade with four watchtowers, protected by locally hired, rifle-toting security men, complete with NYT T-shirts. America's NBC television chain are holed up in a hotel with an iron grille over their door, forbidden by their security advisers to visit the swimming pool or the restaurant "let alone the rest of Baghdad" lest they be attacked. Several Western journalists do not leave their rooms while on station in Baghdad.

So grave are the threats to Western journalists that some television stations are talking of withdrawing their reporters and crews. Amid an insurgency where Westerners - and many Arabs as well as other foreigners - are kidnapped and killed, reporting this war is becoming close to impossible. The murder on videotape of an Italian correspondent, the cold-blooded killing of one of Poland's top reporters and his Bulgarian cameraman, and the equally bloody assault on a Japanese reporter on the notorious Highway 8 south of Baghdad last year have persuaded many journalists that a large dose of discretion is the better part of valour.

The Independent, along with several British and American papers, still covers stories in Baghdad in person, moving with hesitation - not to mention trepidation - through the streets of a city slowly being taken over by insurgents. Only six months ago, it was still possible to leave Baghdad in the morning, drive to Mosul or Najaf or other major cities to cover a story, and return by evening. By August, it was taking me two weeks to negotiate my dubious safety for a mere 80-mile journey outside Baghdad.

I found the military checkpoints on the motorways deserted, the roads lined with smashed American trucks and burnt-out police vehicles. Today, it is almost impossible. Drivers and translators working for newspapers and television companies are threatened with death. Several have asked to be relieved of their duties on 30 January lest they be recognised on the streets during Iraq's elections. In the brutal 1990s war in Algeria, at least 42 local reporters were murdered and a French cameraman was shot dead in the Algiers casbah. But the Algerian security forces could still give a minimum of protection to reporters. In Iraq, they cannot even protect themselves.



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majorvictory64
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posted 22 January 2005 01:12 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In Pictures: Iraqi Children Witness Killing Of Parents By U.S. Occupation Forces

quote:
01/20/05 "Irish Times" -- An Iraqi man and his wife have been shot dead in front of their five children by US soldiers who fired on the car in which the family was travelling.

The children survived but emerged from the car spattered with blood, screaming and traumatised. The soldiers tended to them and brought them to hospital.

The incident happened in Tal Afar, near Mosul, in northern Iraq, late on Tuesday.

According to the US military, soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis, Washington, fired on the car when it failed to stop and came towards soldiers, despite warning shots, during a dusk patrol.

The US forces' press service said the military extended its condolences for the incident, but added that "the military must take appropriate action against possible threats" because of the prevalence of car bombs.

The incident was witnessed by Chris Hondros, a photographer, who recorded it in a series of dramatic pictures. They show how troops shot dead the driver and one passenger - husband and wife, apparently, but unnamed in the photograph captions.

The five children in the rear of the car survived, with only one being slightly injured by a bullet. The military said it was investigating what happened.



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majorvictory64
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Twin Attacks in Iraq Kill at Least 21

quote:
Fri Jan 21, 5:44 PM ET Middle East - AP

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb exploded outside a Shiite mosque packed with worshippers celebrating a major Muslim holiday Friday, and a suicide driver blew up an ambulance at the wedding of a Shiite couple south of the capital. At least 21 people died and dozens were wounded — including the bride and groom.

The attacks came a day after Iraq (news - web sites)'s most feared terror leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, denounced Shiites in a recording that appeared aimed at sowing division ahead of the Jan. 30 elections. Shiites, long the oppressed majority in Iraq, are expected to take power in the balloting, which Sunni Muslim extremists have vowed to disrupt.

Also Friday, a U.S. soldier died in an operation north of Baghdad, and an Italian soldier was killed by a burst of gunfire while patrolling in a helicopter near the southern city of Nasiriyah. Insurgents attacked several designated polling places outside Baghdad.

The car bombing at the al-Taf mosque in Baghdad occurred just as worshippers were leaving services marking one of Islam's most important holidays, Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice. It was the second car bombing at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad this week.

An official at Yarmouk Hospital said 14 people died and 40 were wounded in the blast, which set several cars on fire and scattered debris across the street. Dozens of weeping men and women frantically searched the hospital for missing loved ones.

One distraught man sat beside the body of his 14-year-old son, covered with a sheet, and cried, "I had breakfast with him this morning. I told him, 'Let's go to your grandfather,' but he insisted on going for prayers first."

A woman dressed in a black cloak fainted as she identified her son's body in the hospital morgue.



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majorvictory64
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Army's most modern high-tech forces discover hard lesson

quote:
By Tom Lasseter
Knight Ridder Newspapers

MOSUL, Iraq - When the soldiers of the U.S. Army's Stryker Brigade rolled into the northern Iraqi city of Mosul last year on their new, 38,000-pound machines that look like tanks on wheels, they were coming to an oasis of relative calm amid a spreading insurgency.

Eleven months later, Mosul has become one of the most violent places in Iraq, and some U.S. soldiers there say that's partly because there aren't enough American troops to fight the insurgency.

The rising violence, they say, has taught them a hard lesson: It's often best to fight insurgents the old-fashioned way, with boots on the ground rather than the latest high-tech equipment.

Hundreds of Iraqis have been assassinated in Mosul, shot in the head and dumped in graveyards and on the roadsides. The provincial governor was killed in an attack on his convoy last July. Insurgents, who apparently knew which car he was in, attacked with grenades and gunfire.

Last month, a suicide bomber walked into the mess hall of a U.S. base in Mosul and killed 22 people, including 14 American soldiers, and wounded 69. Frequent intelligence reports now warn the soldiers at the base that insurgents are planning to abduct one of them.

The Stryker brigades are the vanguard of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's vision of a new Army, one transformed into smaller, more agile units with high-tech equipment that can go anywhere, anytime. The brigades' heavily armored vehicles can reach 70 mph, carry advanced computer systems and heavy firepower, and absorb blasts from roadside bombs or rocket-propelled grenades, which can destroy a Humvee or even a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The approximately 5,000 soldiers of the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division who took control of Mosul last February were the first full-sized Stryker force to go into combat. They replaced some 20,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne, a division with the ability to drop units in by helicopter, but based mainly on traditional infantry structure.

The men of the 101st moved around Mosul in Humvees but sustained few casualties, even though some of their Humvees lacked armor.

Conditions in Mosul, however, have gotten worse since the Strykers arrived.



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White House Scraps 'Coalition of the Willing' List

quote:
Fri Jan 21, 7:27 PM ET World - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has scrapped its list of Iraq (news - web sites) allies known as the 45-member "coalition of the willing," which Washington used to back its argument that the 2003 invasion was a multilateral action, an official said on Friday.

The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the White House replaced the coalition list with a smaller roster of 28 countries with troops in Iraq sometime after the June transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government.

The official could not say when or why the administration did away with the list of the coalition of the willing.

The coalition, unveiled on the eve of the invasion, consisted of 30 countries that publicly offered support for the United States and another 15 that did not want to be named as part of the group.

Former coalition member Costa Rica withdrew last September under pressure from voters who opposed the government's decision to back the invasion.

On Friday, an organization from Iceland published a full-page advertisement in the New York Times calling for its country's withdrawal from the coalition and offering apologies for its support for U.S. policy.



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majorvictory64
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End of Iraq's nightmare ... or the start

quote:
Violence threatens to plunge the country into civil war as the beleaguered Sunni minority prepares to boycott this month's polls

Peter Beaumont, Rory McCarthy in Baghdad and Paul Harris in Washington
Sunday January 23, 2005
The Observer

Mohammed Hassan al-Balwa is a Sunni Muslim businessman from the devastated Iraqi city of Falluja. The former head of the city council, he says he will not vote in his country's forthcoming elections on 30 January. 'The election will be the beginning of the division of the Iraqis,' he said. 'From the beginning [of the US-led invasion], the Sunnis have been marginalised, because they said the Sunnis were all Baathists. This was their mistake.'
'The majority of people in Falluja,' he adds, 'have hatred and anger in their hearts.'

Balwa reflects the sharp divisions in Iraq in the run-up to an election for which 12.5 million people are registered to vote.

He reflects on an Iraq divided between those who will vote and those, either through fear, or rejection of the process, will stay at home.

He reflects, too, on an Iraq divided between the minority Sunni Muslims, who dominated the Iraq of Saddam Hussein for decades, and southern Shias and northern Kurds. The latter comprise 80 per cent of the population who were persecuted under Saddam's rule, while the Sunni minority of just 20 per cent dominated all areas of Iraqi life, the ruling Ba'ath party in particular.

It is the lethal tension between these two groups that will define whether the next 12 months of the political process, which the elections will kick-start, will mark the beginning of the end of Iraq's violence, or the start of the country's break-up and descent into civil war.

The elections will not just be critical for Iraqis. For countries such as Britain and the US, whose increasingly war-weary populations are supplying the bulk of foreign troops in Iraq, the elections threaten to have a lasting impact, dictating when those soldiers can finally come home.



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Purple Hearts

quote:
Roel van Broekhoven

A photo series that the New York-based Nina Berman made of wounded Iraq veterans led to the making of this documentary. She also wrote the book 'Purple Hearts, Back from Iraq', in which soldiers tell their stories. Documentary filmmaker Roel van Broekhoven crossed the United States to visit the people portrayed in Berman's photos.

In detail, they recount what happened on the day they got injured; how they arrived back home, blind or legless; how they have to try to forget the war now, in small towns around Alabama and Pittsburgh, or in Washington and L.A. Officially recognised as “heroes,” a Purple Heart on the uniform in the closet, most of these soldiers long to go back to an army that has no use for them anymore. A story that President Bush would probably prefer not to see propagated.



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America suffers deadliest day yet

quote:
BAGHDAD - A U.S. military transport helicopter crashed in bad weather in Iraq’s western desert today, killing 31 people, all believed to be marines, while insurgents killed five other American troops in the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the Iraq war began.
Militants waging a campaign to derail Sunday’s election carried out at least six car bombings and a flurry of other attacks on schools to be used as polling stations, as well as on political party offices and Kurdish sites, killing or wounding more than two dozen people.

While Al Qaeda warned Iraqis to stay away from the polls — saying they would only have themselves to blame if they are hurt in attacks — U.S. President George W. Bush called on people to “defy the terrorists” and cast ballots in the crucial election.

A Bush administration official said the cause of Wednesday’s crash was not immediately known but that there was bad weather at the time.

The CH-53 Sea Stallion was carrying personnel from the 1st Marine Division when it went down around 1:20 a.m. local time near the town of Rutbah, about 355 kilometres west of Baghdad, while conducting security operations, the military said in a statement.

A search-and-rescue team has reached the site and an investigation into what caused the crash was underway.

The administration official said all 31 people killed in the crash were believed to be U.S. marines — the most American service members to die in a single incident in Iraq. It was also the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the March 2003 invasion.

Bush expressed his condolences for the deaths. “The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people. I understand that. It is the long-term objective that is vital — that is to spread freedom,” he told reporters.



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American pleads for life in video

quote:
By BASSEM MROUE
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An American kidnapped in November pleaded for his life in a video aired Tuesday, and at least a dozen Iraqis died in Baghdad as political violence continued to plague the country five days before Sunday's crucial elections for a new National Assembly.

On a day the U.S. military announced that six American soldiers died, Iraqi police engaged in fierce shootouts with insurgents, including gunmen who were handing out leaflets warning Iraqis not to vote or risk seeing their families' blood "wash the streets of Baghdad."

In the hostage video, a bearded Roy Hallums, 56, speaking with a rifle pointed at his head, said he had been taken by a "resistance group" because "I have worked with American forces." He appealed to Arab leaders, including Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, to save his life.

Hallums was seized by gunmen Nov. 1 along with Robert Tarongoy of the Philippines at their compound in Baghdad's Mansour district. The two worked for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army.

The Filipino was not shown in the video and it was not known when the video was made.

"I am please asking for help because my life is in danger because it's been proved I worked for American forces," Hallums said.

In Westminster, Calif., his daughter, Carrie Cooper, 29, said she last saw him at a family reunion last June.

"My heart's broken to see my dad with a gun to his head. ... He's fearless and he wanted to help the people there and rebuild Iraq," she told KNBC-TV.

Hallums' former wife, Susan Hallums, urged President Bush to help the captive and urged the kidnappers to let him go.

"Please release him. He's never hurt anybody in his life. He's only done good things. He's a wonderful father and grandfather, and he's kind and I know that you can see that he's kind," she said at her home in Corona, Calif.



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Common Dreams article and its link to The Chronicle of Higher Education about the methodology on the report of 100,000 deaths and the crappy media response.
quote:
...On its merits, the study should have received more prominent play. Public-health professionals have uniformly praised the paper for its correct methods and notable results.

"Les has used, and consistently uses, the best possible methodology," says Bradley A. Woodruff, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indeed, the United Nations and the State Department have cited mortality numbers compiled by Mr. Roberts on previous conflicts as fact -- and have acted on those results...



quote:
...The Washington Post, perhaps most damagingly to the study's reputation, quoted Marc E. Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, as saying, "These numbers seem to be inflated."

Mr. Garlasco says now that he had not read the paper at the time and calls his quote in the Post "really unfortunate." He says he told the reporter, "I haven't read it. I haven't seen it. I don't know anything about it, so I shouldn't comment on it." But, Mr. Garlasco continues, "like any good journalist, he got me to."

Mr. Garlasco says he misunderstood the reporter's description of the paper's results. He did not understand that the paper's estimate includes deaths caused not only directly by violence but also by its offshoots: chaos leading to lack of sanitation and medical care...


[ 27 January 2005: Message edited by: Contrarian ]


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Awaiting the List of the Dead

quote:
heard the first snippet of early-morning news on National Public Radio: A helicopter in Iraq went down with 30 or more killed.

Through the day Wednesday, the father in me felt an iron ring constrict around my heart. Then the newspaperman/former Army man/embedded journalist took over, calculating a deteriorating set of personal family odds.

Details advanced through the day, none particularly surprising to me. Hearing it was a CH-53E Super Stallion troop-carrying helicopter, I knew it had to be Marines. Two hundred or so miles west of Bagdhad -- that would be the Marines I know, the “Hawaii Marines,” my son among them.

On Sunday night, I'd gotten a hurried satellite “phone card” call from Lance Cpl. Garrett P. Anderson, telling his dad he was “packing up and leaving ... and just glad it’s not Ramadi.” Me too. Several Marines were killed there this week. This newspaperman’s son, whelped in media, practices good “opsec,” operational security, the habit of not sinking ships with loose lips. He didn’t tell me where the boys of his battalion were headed.

Later in the day Wednesday, my ex-wife, Sue, one of the world’s great moms, called, confirming it was “Hawaii Marines,” from the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. In other words, our son’s outfit. The ring around the heart constricted again.

Hearing the news that the CH-53E heavy helicopter that crashed was carrying “K-Bay” Marines, I canceled dinner with a dear friend and headed home to surf the Internet. All these information devices -- cell phones, the Web, 24-hour satellite and cable -- we labor under the illusion that they give us added control. Which, of course, they do not. They give information, which can be helpful or even life-saving in an emergency. But they do not give us an iota of control.

I punched and kicked my way through an hour of martial arts to raise the sweat level and dampen the fear level. And in our illusions of control, my worst fear was to return home from the dojo and see the official car parked in the street, bearing the dread news. I almost bagged the martial arts workout in the childish belief that if I remained at home I couldn’t return to find the official car.

I even know the guy who would likely be in the car. We are friends. But I don’t want to see him in an official car parked at my house.

The phone call from the Marine’s mother brought qualified good news. She had tracked down a public-affairs officer at Kaneohe Bay, who told her our son was “not on the list” of the dead. But this newspaperman and former Army guy knows lists are sometimes inaccurate.

Turned out to be 31 killed -- 30 Marines and a Navy corpsman, the medic that all the infantry grunts consider to be blood kin. Twenty-seven of the Marines were “Hawaii Marines,” making it “the worst day for Hawaii-based Marines since Pearl Harbor.”

And that’s when the memory of other lists started recurring. The Civil War-era photographs of the kind Matthew Brady made famous. The weeping, stunned relatives searching the lists of Gettysburg dead. More wars, and more lists. Lists from D-Day, and lists from Iwo Jima, yes, and, most recently, lists from Manhattan, from 9/11.



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Casualties of Polling

quote:
He writhes in pain, moaning with every other breath. The Iraqi police colonel’s chest is covered in bandages, his legs from the knees down nearly completely hidden from view due to thick bandages holding what is left of his shins together.

“We gave him first aid and requested a transfer because we don’t have any specialists left,” Dr. Aisha tells me, her name changed as requested since doctors are now technically forbidden to talk to the media or allow them to take photos in Iraqi hospitals unless granted permission from the Ministry of Health and its US-advisor.

And even then we are only allowed to talk with “spokespeople” at select hospitals.

Yarmouk would certainly not be on the top of their list of hospitals for the press to visit, as being one of Baghdad’s larger and busiest hospitals and located in the middle of the capital city the majority of casualties are brought here.

The colonel’s face is scrunched up as his pain is constant. Involuntary whimpers are audible as he squeezes his eyes closed from time to time, dreaming of relief.

“We sent him to a neurological hospital which couldn’t treat him because all of their specialists have left the country,” Dr. Aisha continues. Her frustration is expressed in her precisely spoken words, hammering out the details like a veteran on the front lines.

So the colonel was returned to Yarmouk untreated. He’d been guarding a polling station when a suicide bomber detonated nearby. The shrapnel turned his legs into hamburger and left his chest split open.

“I asked him not to leave the house, not to obey the Americans,” his wife who is standing nearby with their little boy and girl tells me, “But he said that he had to go or the Americans would cut his salary. And also because he said it was his duty.”

She looks over to him as another whimper emits from his contorted face, then looks back at me with anger flashing in her weary eyes.

“The Americans told him he should die with his countrymen! God damn them for what they have done to my husband! God damn them for what they have done to Iraq!”



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Iraq to be a Vietnam: retired general

quote:
AUSTRALIA'S involvement in Iraq would end in disaster just like Vietnam, a retired general said today.

Major General Alan Stretton said the Government would eventually bow to public pressure and withdraw the troops, leaving behind a bloody mess.
Prime Minister John Howard has rejected comparisons with Vietnam, saying such analogies are misplaced.

Maj Gen Stretton, who served as chief of staff of the Australian force in Vietnam from 1969-70 but is best remembered for his role heading relief operations in Darwin following Cyclone Tracy in 1974, said there could never be democracy in Iraq.

He said the Government was being irresponsible in sending even more troops.

"I really believe it will go the same way as Vietnam," he told the John Laws radio program on 2UE.

"It will get no better – (only) worse – and eventually public opinion in both the US and Australia and elsewhere will demand our troops come back and when they do they will be pretending that the locals can handle it all themselves, and we will just leave a bloody mess."

Prime Minister John Howard this week announced that Australia would send a 450-strong task force to southern Iraq to protect Japanese engineers rebuilding the largely peaceful Al Muthanna province.

Mr Howard said Iraq was at "tilting point" following last month's democratic elections.

Maj Gen Stretton said Australia should not have been involved in Iraq in the first place as there were no weapons of mass destruction and no links with al-Qaeda.

"The whole lot of it has turned into a bloody civil war," he said.

"All we are doing is reinforcing disaster. I just cannot understand it."



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U.S. Marines hire private Iraqi force to hunt insurgents

quote:
HADITHA, Iraq - U.S. Marines are using a private Iraqi security force to help them hunt down insurgents and say the tactic, while little used so far, is working.

The Marines set up the force, the Iraqi Freedom Guard, in January before embarking on their ongoing offensive in Iraq's vast and rebellious western province of Anbar. It consists of 61 men hired on a three-month contract for $400 each a month.

The Marines are quick to emphasis that the Freedom Guard is not a private militia, which are banned under Iraq's interim constitution unless under the authority of the armed forces.

Their creation appears to be part of Washington's efforts to build up and add backbone to Iraq's security forces in any way possible after nearly two years of repeated setbacks.

"The analogy that I would use is the contract security that the Marine Corps uses like Blackwater," Col. Craig Tucker, regimental commander of the 7th Marines, told Reuters.

Blackwater, a U.S.-based security firm that rejects comparisons to a private army, does much of the body guarding of senior officials in Iraq. "The impact they (the Freedom Guard) have when they are out with us is tremendous. One great benefit we have with them is differentiating between dialects and accents. They can tell if a guy is from Syria or Jordan," Tucker said.

In a mission on Friday in nearby Haqliniya, it was the Freedom Guard who found the most likely suspected insurgent. They are also used during interrogations, although the Marines insist they keep everything under a watchful eye.

"Is the major in there? OK. That should stop things from getting out of hand," said Captain Chris DeAntoni, commanding a raid to round up insurgents as he stood outside a room where an Iraqi Guardsman was shouting loudly at a suspect.



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Italian troops to leave Iraq

quote:
Tuesday March 15, 2005

Italy will begin withdrawing its 3,000 troops from Iraq in September, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, announced today.
"We will begin to reduce our contingent even before the end of the year, starting in September, in agreement with our allies," he said in an interview on state television RAI.

Withdrawing Italian troops "will depend on the capability of the Iraqi government to give itself structures for acceptable security," the ANSA news agency quoted Mr Berlusconi as saying. "I've spoken about it with Tony Blair, and it's the public opinion of our countries that expects this decision."

The move will be a blow to the US, which has struggled to find countries willing to contribute troops following a wave of kidnappings and beheadings of foreigners in Iraq and an ongoing bloody insurgency. Italy's 3,000 troops, deployed in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq, constitute the fourth largest contingent after the US, Britain and South Korea.

The news comes amid a continuing row over the death of Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari, who was shot dead by US troops at a checkpoint in Iraq on March 4. Calipari was accompanying a freed Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, to Baghdad airport when US soldiers fired on their car. The US troops said the car had been speeding towards the checkpoint; Ms Sgrena and the car's driver denied this.



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Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq's Oil

quote:
By: Greg Palast
Reporting for BBC Newsnight

03/17/05 - "BBC" - The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protestors claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists."

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant Falah Aljibury says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

The industry-favored plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, flew to the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, your losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable," said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatization is coming."

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: "There was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved."

The chosen successor to Mr Carroll, a Conoco Oil executive, ordered up a new plan for a state oil company preferred by the industry.

Ari Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatize Iraq's oil fields. He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."



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majorvictory64
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Journalists tell of US Falluja killings

quote:
Thursday 17 March 2005, 13:41 Makka Time, 10:41 GMT

All is quiet in Falluja, or at least that is how it seems, given that the mainstream media has largely forgotten about the Iraqi city. But independent journalists are risking life and limb to bring out a very different story.

The picture they are painting is of US soldiers killing whole families, including children, attacks on hospitals and doctors, the use of napalm-like weapons and sections of the city destroyed.

One of the few reporters who has reached Falluja is American Dahr Jamail of the Inter Press Service. He interviewed a doctor who had filmed the testimony of a 16-year-old girl.

"She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters.

She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything. They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead," Jamail relates.

Another report comes from an aid convoy headed up by Dr Salem Ismael. He was in Falluja last month. As well as delivering aid he photographed the dead, including children, and interviewed remaining residents.

Again his story does not tally with the indifference shown by the main media networks.

"The accounts I heard ... will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Falluja, but the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined"




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Crime as Lethal as Warfare in Iraq

quote:
As morgues fill, police blame sectarian rivalries suppressed by Hussein. Kidnapping and the trade in arms and drugs are also on the rise.


Times Headlines

Creating a Logjam in Honduras


U.S. Joins Old Foes to Build New Iraqi Army


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VIOLENCE

BAGHDAD IRAQ

THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

BAGHDAD IRAQ VIOLENCE MURDERS

MURDERS








By Monte Morin, Times Staff Writer


BAGHDAD — It's been more than a month since Hassan Hadi watched as his co-workers were executed one by one at the Happiness Bakery, and he can't stop replaying the moment when fate spared him.

In a small apartment just a block from the scene of the slaughter, a relative of one of the victims tucks a pistol into his waistband and slides a dull green grenade into his coat pocket as he ponders revenge.

And in the gloomy dissecting hall of Baghdad's central morgue, a doctor who examined the bakery victims laughs weakly to himself as still more bodies arrive at the crowded facility.

"The cases we are getting are unbelievable," Dr. Taha Qassim says. "Huge crimes, assassinations, beheadings. Why, only today I dissected three beheaded bodies. We will probably break the record for beheaded cadavers in any forensic department in the world."

As Iraq's newly elected leaders cobble together the foundation of a fledgling democracy, a killing epidemic has taken hold of this troubled nation. Ministry of Health statistics show that record numbers of Iraqi civilians are coming to violent ends, particularly here in the capital.

Assassinations and bombings have garnered worldwide attention. But Iraqi officials say violence unrelated to the insurgency is growing, and Iraqis are more likely to die at the hands — or in the cross-fire — of kidnappers, carjackers and angry neighbors than in car bombings.

In some cases, authorities say, the motives are so opaque that they cannot tell whether they are investigating a crime disguised as an act of war or a political assassination masquerading as a violent business dispute.

In Baghdad alone, officials at the central morgue counted 8,035 deaths by unnatural causes in 2004, up from 6,012 the previous year, when the U.S. invaded Iraq. In 2002, the final year of Saddam Hussein's regime, the morgue examined about 1,800 bodies.

Of the deaths occurring now, 60% are caused by gunshot wounds, officials say, and most are unrelated to the insurgency. Twenty to 30 bodies arrive at the morgue every day, and the victims are overwhelmingly male.

Much of the violence, officials say, is inspired by the ethnic, tribal and religious rivalries that were held in check by Hussein's brutal rule, and facilitated by a ready supply of firearms. That deadly combination has let loose a wave of vengeance killings, tribal vendettas, mercenary kidnappings and thievery.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 09 April 2005 05:27 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraqis stage huge anti-US protest

Massive "End the Occupation" Protest in Baghdad Dwarfs the "Saddam Toppled" rally: Photos

quote:
Chanting "No! No to terrorism!" and "No! No to America," thousands of supporters of a radical Shiite cleric who once led uprisings against U.S. troops called Saturday for American forces to withdraw from Iraq, staging a massive protest at the same square where - two years ago to the day - protesters pulled down a towering statue of ousted Saddam Hussein.

Compare the protests- which one looks like the ’voice of the people’ to you?

The protest reflected frustration with the U.S. government, which is slowly handing security responsibilities to Iraqi forces two years after taking control of Baghdad. U.S. officials have said they won’t set a timetable for withdrawal, promising to stay until Iraqi forces are able to secure the country.

Thousands of Iraqi Shi’ites loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr hold a demonstration in Baghdad’s Firdos Square April 9, 2005 where a statue of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was pulled down by Iraqis and American soldiers two years ago. The rally was called on the second anniversary of the fall of Baghdad with protesters demanding an end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq and a speedy trial for former president Saddam Hussein. REUTERS/Ali Jasim



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 15 April 2005 02:05 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In Mosul, a Battle 'Beyond Ruthless'

quote:
Onetime Gang Member Applies Rules of Street

By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 13, 2005; Page A01

MOSUL, Iraq -- From inside a vacant building, Sgt. 1st Class Domingo Ruiz watched through a rifle scope as three cars stopped on the other side of the road. A man carrying a machine gun got out and began to transfer weapons into the trunk of one of the cars.

"Take him down," Ruiz told a sniper.

Sgt. 1st Class Domingo Ruiz, on patrol in Mosul with the unit he leads, was once a gang member in Brooklyn. He says the rules of the street also apply in Mosul. "What I see here, I saw a long time ago," he said. "It's the same patterns." (Steve Fainaru -- The Washington Post)

The sniper fired his powerful M-14 rifle and the man's head exploded, several American soldiers recalled. As he fell, more soldiers opened fire, killing at least one other insurgent. After the ambush, the Americans scooped up a piece of skull and took it back to their base as evidence of the successful mission.

The March 12 attack -- swift and brutally violent -- bore the hallmarks of operations that have made Ruiz, 39, a former Brooklyn gang member, renowned among U.S. troops in Mosul and, in many ways, a symbol of the optimism that has pervaded the military since Iraq's Jan. 30 elections.

Insurgent attacks in this northern Iraqi city, which numbered more than 100 a week in mid-November, have declined by almost half, according to the military. Indirect attacks -- generally involving mortars or rockets -- on U.S. bases fell from more than 200 a month in December to fewer than 10 in March. Although figures vary from region to region, attacks also have declined precipitously in other parts of Iraq, creating a growing belief among U.S. commanders that the insurgency is losing potency.

"We are seeing a more stable environment," said Lt. Col. Michael Gibler, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, which operates in eastern Mosul. "Have we made a turn yet? No, but we're really close to it."



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 28 April 2005 06:49 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ruined, cordoned Falluja is emerging as the decade's monument to brutality

quote:
Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail

04/27/05 "The Guardian" - -Robert Zoellick is the archetypal US government insider, a man with a brilliant technical mind but zero experience of any coalface or war front. Sliding effortlessly between ivy league academia, the US treasury and corporate boardrooms (including an advisory post with the scandalous Enron), his latest position is the number-two slot at the state department.
Yet this ultimate "man of the suites" did something earlier this month that put the prime minister and the foreign secretary to shame. On their numerous visits to Iraq, neither has ever dared to go outside the heavily fortified green zones of Baghdad and Basra to see life as Iraqis have to live it. They come home after photo opportunities, briefings and pep talks with British troops and claim to know what is going on in the country they invaded, when in fact they have seen almost nothing.

Zoellick, by contrast, on his first trip to Iraq, asked to see Falluja. Remember Falluja? A city of some 300,000, which was alleged to be the stronghold of armed resistance to the occupation.
Two US attempts were made to destroy this symbol of defiance last year. The first, in April, fizzled out after Iraqi politicians, including many who supported the invasion of their country, condemned the use of air strikes to terrorise an entire city. The Americans called off the attack, but not before hundreds of families had fled and more than 600 people had been killed.

Six months later the Americans tried again. This time Washington's allies had been talked to in advance. Consistent US propaganda about the presence in Falluja of a top al-Qaida figure, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was used to create a climate of acquiescence in the US-appointed Iraqi government. Shia leaders were told that bringing Falluja under control was the only way to prevent a Sunni-inspired civil war.

Blair was invited to share responsibility by sending British troops to block escape routes from Falluja and prevent supplies entering once the siege began.

Warnings of the onslaught prompted the vast majority of Falluja's 300,000 people to flee. The city was then declared a free-fire zone on the grounds that the only people left behind must be "terrorists".

Three weeks after the attack was launched last November, the Americans claimed victory. They say they killed about 1,300 people; one week into the siege, a BBC reporter put the unofficial death toll at 2,000. But details of what happened and who the dead were remain obscure. Were many unarmed civilians, as Baghdad-based human rights groups report? Even if they were trying to defend their homes by fighting the Americans, does that make them "terrorists"?



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 04 May 2005 12:21 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why America needs to be Defeated in Iraq

quote:
The argument most commonly offered by antiwar Americans (who believe we should stay in Iraq) doesn't defend the legitimacy of the invasion, but provides the rationale for the ongoing occupation. The belief that "We can't just leave them without security", creates the logic for staying in Iraq until order can be established. Unfortunately, the occupation is just another manifestation of the war itself; replete with daily bombings, arrests, torture and the destruction of personal property. Therefore, support of the occupation is a vindication of the war. The two are inseparable.

We should remember that the war (which was entirely based on false or misleading information) was both illegal and immoral. That judgment does not change by maintaining a military presence of 140,000 soldiers on the ground for years to come. Each passing day of occupation simply perpetuates the crime.

At the same time we have to recognize that the disparate elements of Iraqi resistance, belittled in the media as the "insurgency", are the legitimate expression of Iraqi self-determination.

Independence is not bestowed by a foreign nation; the very nature of that relationship suggests reliance on outside forces. True independence and sovereignty can only be realized when foreign armies are evacuated and indigenous elements assume the reigns of power. (Bush acknowledged this himself when he ordered Syrian troops to leave Lebanon) The character of the future Iraqi government will evolve from the groups who successfully expel the US forces from their country, not the American-approved stooges who rose to power through Washington's "demonstration elections". This may not suit the members of the Bush administration, but it's a first step in the long process of reintegrating and rebuilding the Iraqi state.

There's no indication that the conduct of the occupation will change anytime soon. If anything, conditions have only worsened over the passed two years. The Bush administration hasn't shown any willingness to loosen its grip on power either by internationalizing the occupation or by handing over real control to the newly elected Iraqi government. This suggests that the only hope for an acceptable solution to the suffering of the Iraqi people is a US defeat and the subsequent withdrawal of troops. Regrettably, we're no where near that period yet.

Who's killing who?

It's not the insurgency that's killing American soldiers. It's the self-serving strategy to control 12% of the world's remaining petroleum and to project American military power throughout the region. This is the plan that has put American servicemen into harms way. The insurgency is simply acting as any resistance movement would; trying to rid their country of foreign invaders when all the political channels have been foreclosed. American's would behave no differently if put in a similar situation and Iraqi troops were deployed in our towns and cities. Ultimately, the Bush administration bears the responsibility for the death of every American killed in Iraq just as if they had lined them up against a wall and shot them one by one. Their blood is on the administration's hands not those of the Iraqi insurgency. Expect another dictator or Mullah



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 09 May 2005 01:04 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Seven U.S. Servicemembers Killed in Iraq

quote:
05-08) 18:44 PDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) --

An explosion of insurgent violence killed seven U.S. servicemembers in Iraq over the weekend even as the Shiite-dominated parliament approved four more Sunni Arabs to serve as government ministers.

One of the four Sunnis rejected the post on the grounds of tokenism, tarnishing the Shiite premier's bid to include the disaffected minority believed to be driving Iraq's deadly insurgency.

More than 300 people, including American forces, have been killed in a torrent of attacks since Iraq's Cabinet was sworn in April 28 with seven positions undecided.

Parliament approved all six of the nominees placed before it Sunday by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

The position of human rights minister was rejected by its nominee, but once it is filled, only one vice premiership will remain open. Al-Jaafari said he hopes to name a woman to that job, filling out a Cabinet after more than three months of political wrangling since the country's landmark democratic elections.

Three of the U.S. victims were soldiers killed Sunday in bombings in central Iraq, the U.S. command said. One soldier was killed during an attack on a patrol near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad. The other two died in an explosion near Khaldiyah, 75 miles west of Baghdad, the military said.

On Saturday, three U.S. Marines and a sailor were killed in fighting with insurgents in western Iraq, some of whom fought from inside a hospital, the military said.

The battle, in which an unspecified number of insurgents was killed, began in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, when U.S. forces responding to small arms fire near the Haditha Dam and saw Iraqi civilians running from Haditha Hospital, the military said.

The soldiers were then attacked by a suicide car bomb that destroyed a nearby building and set fire to the hospital. Insurgents inside the hospital set off a roadside bomb and fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the U.S. forces.

After the fight, Marines searched the hospital and found fortified firing positions with sandbagged windows.

At least 1,599 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 12 May 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Marine squad wiped out

quote:
The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.

Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.

Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley emerged from the smoke and turmoil around the vehicle, circling toward the spot where helicopters would later land to pick up casualties. As he passed one group of Marines, he uttered one sentence: "That was the same squad."

Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.

In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.



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Jingles
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posted 12 May 2005 06:12 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi.

Somehow, US Marines don't count as "foreign fighters". I guess that in the mind of America, wherever they are, they belong. If you fight against America, anywhere in the world, even from your own home, you are the foreign invader.

What do you call a squad of dead Marines?

[ 12 May 2005: Message edited by: Jingles ]


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 30 May 2005 12:02 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Do The People Of Iraq Have A Right To Resist U.S. Occupation?

quote:
Jack Smith

05/29/05 - - Do the people of Iraq have the right to defend themselves against violent foreign invasion and occupation by any means at their disposal against an aggressive and rapacious enemy enjoying overwhelming military superiority?

This is a right Americans unquestionably would invoke were their country invaded and occupied by a foreign power. They would take whatever measures were necessary to defeat the enemy and force it to withdraw.

The United States government supports this position and recognizes its validity in relation to all other nations invaded by foreign aggressors--except when it is Washington that initiates or supports the invasion of another sovereign state. By White House whim, the subject state loses its right to self-defense.

In Iraq, for example, President George W. Bush, who launched the unjust and unlawful invasion over two years ago, is appalled by the suggestion that the Iraqis have a right to fight back. The entire opinion-forming mass media echoes this arrogant perspective. Bush defines resistance to U.S. aggression in Iraq as an act of "terrorism," and not a legitimate struggle to reclaim national sovereignty from the brutal occupation.

Bush declares that the 140,000 American occupation troops must remain to "defend Iraqi democracy" against the resistance. Aside from the obvious fact that the Quisling government of a subjugated country under foreign military control cannot qualify as a democracy, Bush disregards the fact that the raison d¹être of the resistance is predicated on the presence of occupation forces he refuses to withdraw.

The American antiwar movement is disunited on the important question of whether or not to support the right of the Iraqi people to resist U.S. aggression as best they can, including by force of arms. No group that supports the resistance puts this view forward as a basis for working with other peace groups. It is as a statement of political principle, not a unity demand.

Within the broad political spectrum of the peace movement, many local and national peace groups either oppose supporting Iraqi¹s right to resist the occupation or refuse to take a public position. Most of these groups entertain moderate or liberal agendas. A number of left groups, however, are certainly included.

One of the two principal peace coalitions in the United States, United for Peace and Justice, does not put forward the view that the Iraqi people have a right to resistance U.S. aggression or address the question at its rallies, according to its leadership, because some groups in UPJ "strongly oppose" that view.

The other national coalition, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), takes the following position, in response to our query May 27:

"We support the right of self-determination in the struggle against imperialist domination, and believe the Iraqi people have the right to resist occupation by any means chosen. The right to resist occupation is a concept enshrined in international law. . . . This is not a matter of political or ideological affinity. Nor is it an issue of the tactics of war --al of which are ugly. It boils down to this simple equation: On the one side are all the forces fighting a war against colonialism and occupation, and on the other side are the colonialists, neo-colonialists and their Iraqi agents. In that struggle we take an unambiguous position opposing the colonizers. To do otherwise would be to put entirely secondary issues --ideology, war tactics, etc. --at the forefront, while ignoring the core issue of colonialism in Iraq and elsewhere. Moreover, since we are a U.S. antiwar movement, and it is our country that has invaded Iraq, we are obligated to be crystal clear on this issue."

This writer is in agreement with that position, as was the case in the 1960s, well before ANSWER came along, when sectors of the antiwar movement vociferously objected to supporting the struggle, or at least supporting the right to struggle, of the National Liberation Front to free southern Vietnam from an even more treacherous American intervention.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
nister
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posted 30 May 2005 05:58 PM      Profile for nister     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
MV64, a bit of drift you might find interesting. From www.tbrnews.org, scroll down to US Military Report Bush's Achilles Heel.

This site is new to me, and something about the story is fishy. Note the authorship..not the pedigree the site claims to source. If true, the story could have huge legs.


From: Barrie, On | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 18 July 2005 12:33 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Unnamed Dead of Iraq

quote:
Benyahmin B. Yahudah was killed when a suicide bomber detonated his SUV near a U.S. military vehicle surrounded by Iraqi children, many of whom died in the blast. We are told in reports from Iraq that, in the last few days, two Marines, whose names will in due course be included in one of those boxed announcements, were killed when their vehicle struck an IED near the Jordanian border, and seven Americans were wounded in a string of suicide bomb blasts and explosions across the Baghdad area which killed at least 29 Iraqis, many (but hardly all of them) policemen and soldiers, and wounded perhaps another 104.

Of those Iraqis -- as opposed to the Londoners who died (or survived) the recent subway and bus bombings -- there will be no stirring portraits of stiff-upper-lip courage or of horror. Hardly even the odd name. Not here anyway. In this country, there is something impersonal, numbingly distant, and unreal about Iraqi deaths, even though the dead Iraqis too had parents and relatives, friends and neighbors, husbands, wives, or lovers, possibly children of their own.

When it comes to Iraqis, in fact, even the simplest official figures have been hard to come by. As a result, the carnage we unleashed in the now failed-state of Iraq in the wake of our invasion is hard even to grasp. Based on rare figures for Iraqi deaths that Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times succeeded in getting the Iraqi Health Ministry to release, Juan Cole recently concluded the following at his Informed Comment blog:

"[The ministry officials] estimate about 8,000 [dead Iraqi civilians] in the past 10 months, or 800 per month. This number appears not to include persons killed by US military action. Even if the figure of 300,000 for the number of civilian victims of the Baath regime [of Saddam Hussein] is not an exaggeration, that would be over 37 years, or 8,000 per year. That is, American Iraq is presiding over a civilian death rate greater than the highest estimates per month per capita for that of the Baath regime."

As he notes, even those figures are exceedingly partial, leaving out as they do the deaths of Iraqi soldiers as well as those of Iraqis who have died due to U.S. military action. Consider now Judith Coburn's in depth look at just how we have treated Iraqi civilian deaths.



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