DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, April 18, 2006Photo
: Iraqi resistance fighters operate a checkpoint in Samarra on March 21.Bring 'em on
Two US soldiers were injured when a bomb exploded as they passed by in
Al-Qadisiya district in Baghdad. Two Iraqi civilians were injured in
the same incident.Bring 'em on
A bomb exploded at the passage of a U.S. convoy in industrial district
in Baghdad. No reports on casualties or damage were available.Bring 'em on
: A bomb exploded in Al-Qadisiya district in Kirkuk near a U.S. patrol without causing any damage.Iraqi and US forces battle rebels in Baghdad for second straight day
Late Tuesday, Iraqi troops were still under sporadic gunfire from
insurgents in Baghdad's Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah where the army
was conducting search operations.
The army, along with US
forces, on Monday fought a group of 50 gunmen in the neighborhood. Five
rebels were killed and seven captured after a seven-hour battle.
However, dozens of militants appeared to have escaped and others
continued to attack the troops Tuesday as they conducted house-to-house
searches for the second day, an interior ministry official said.
"We expect them to come back again,"
said a man who only identified himself as Abu Bakr and said he was a
former army officer under Saddam. His description of the events of
Monday night [in Adhamiyah] were even more dramatic than the U.S.
military account. "We saw about 100 to 150 men show up in cars. Some
were wearing military uniforms and others were in civilian clothes," he
said, as five gunmen stood guard over one of the main roads leading
into Adhamiya.Ramadi remains tense Tuesday
US troops there came under massive attack Monday, with several car
bombs shaking the heavily fortified government building that houses a
marine base and provincial government offices. The marines came under
fire from a nearby mosque, the military said, adding that it was the
fourth time in a month that the place of worship had been abused by the
Nearly 50 US troops have been killed across Iraq since
April 1, marking one of the bloodiest periods for the military since
the invasion.OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTSBaghdad:Bomb explodes Baghdad cafe frequented by policemen, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 20.
Three policemen were among those killed, and the rest were civilians.Roadside bombing in western Baghdad misses police patrol, wounding a civilian driver instead.Four
civilians killed and 22 others including four policemen wounded when
roadside bomb blast hits police patrol in a eastern Baghdad district.15 bullet-riddled bodies found across Baghdad of men shot execution-style.Two bombings target small Shiite mosques in northern and eastern Baghdad.
There were no casualties, but one of the mosques was severely damaged, police said.Yusufiya:Bodies of four unidentified men with multiple gunshot wounds and showing signs of torture found northeast of Yusufiya
, 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad.Basra:Policeman gunned down in drive-by shooting in Basra.Touz Kharmato:Gunmen shoot dead two Iraqis working at the state's Sunni Endowment Authority
and injure two others overnight in Touz Kharmato, 185 kilometers north of BaghdadTikrit:Gunmen kill policeman and wound two others in Tikrit.Baiji:Gunmen wound police colonel along with two policemen in Baiji.Irbil:Iraqi policeman gunned down, six civilians wounded in drive-by shooting in Irbil.Mosul:Four Iraqi civilians wounded when explosive device goes off near civilian car in Mosul.
Two of the wounded were inside the car, while the two others happened to be at the site.Rawa:Suicide car bomber attacks Iraqi security forces at checkpoint south of Rawa, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding another.
Rawa is about 250 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Baghdad on the Euphrates River.IRAQ NEWSOrphans in Iraq require urgent assistance
"Orphaned children have become a very serious issue," said [Orphans
Houses Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs]
director Abeer Mahdi al-Chalabi. "We have 23 orphanages with limited
capacity, capable of housing only about 1,600 orphans."
there are seven orphanages in the capital, Baghdad, and another 16 in
other provinces, "they aren't enough to provide assistance to all the
orphans in the country", said al-Chalabi. She went on to point out that
the increase in the number of orphans countrywide was an inevitable
result of the bombings, assassinations and sectarian violence currently
plaguing the country. [No mention of course of the role played by the U.S. occupation army in increasing the number of orphans in Iraqů
]Veteran rocker Neil Young records protest album featuring an anti-Iraq war track and song titled "Let's Impeach the President
The 10-track set, called "Living with War," was recorded this month by
a "power trio" -- electric guitar, bass and drums -- plus trumpet and a
100 voices, the 60-year-old Canadian-born musician announced on his Web
Young's longtime manager, Elliot Roberts, told Reuters the
album, which has been the subject of Internet buzz for several days,
will be played for executives at his label, Warner Music Group's
Reprise Records, on Tuesday.
"It's devoted to the state of
America, or the direction that America is moving in," Roberts said of
the album. Roberts confirmed that a separate song on the album is
titled "Let's Impeach the President." He declined to disclose any
further details about the record.
But according to some online
reports, the song accuses President George W. Bush of "lying" and
features a rap with Bush's voice set against a choir singing
"Living with War" appears to bring Young full
circle from a more pro-Bush administration stance he took in the months
following the September 11 attacks. Not long after recording the song
"Let's Roll," a tribute to passengers who apparently fought back
against hijackers on doomed United Airlines Flight 93 over
Pennsylvania, Young came out publicly in support of the U.S. Patriot
Act.REPORTSAustralians want out of Iraq
The overwhelming majority of Australians - 65 per cent - want troops to
be withdrawn from Iraq either immediately or, at the latest, when their
mission providing security for the Japanese humanitarian mission ends
in May, according to a poll.
The survey of 500 people, conducted
by UMR Research for the political consultancy Hawker Britton, found
that 28 per cent wanted the 460-strong Australian deployment protecting
Japanese engineers in the southern al-Muthanna province out of Iraq
immediately. Another 37 per cent wanted the troops withdrawn once the
Japanese mission ends.
Twenty-four per cent of respondents said
they wanted Australian troops to remain in Iraq until the country was
"considered to be peaceful and stable, even if it takes a long time",
while 8 per cent said they should stay until US troops pulled out.
week the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, said the troops would
take on a new role after the Japanese left in May, joining the "over
watch" program in support of Iraqi security forces, police and local
government.Gallup: 57% Say U.S. Won't Win in Iraq
A report on a new Gallup poll released today [April 17] shows that
President Bush approval rating on his handling of Iraq is now at 32% --
tied for the lowest rating Gallup has measured. The survey, taken April
7-9, also shows that 57% of Americans think the United States will not
win in Iraq.
In a surprise, the new poll found that 44% of
Republicans now back withdrawing some or all troops from Iraq. The
number for all Americans, 64%, is higher, but the fact that better than
4 in 10 Republicans back this idea is notable. Independents are
tracking much closer to Democrats on all issues related to Iraq.
another finding, 57% of Americans say it was a mistake to send troops
to Iraq, while 42% say it was not. Since December 2005, either a
plurality or majority of Americans have said it was a mistake. The
breakdown on the troop pullout question is: 36% say to withdraw "some"
troops, while 28% want to withdraw all troops.Where did Iraq funds go?
: On Sunday, The Boston Globe
wrote that American investigators and civil attorneys probing fraud
allegations raised against U.S. contractors, found that American
contractors swindled hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds.
However, there's no way for the Iraqi government to retrieve this
money, the report added.
Although American courts started to
force contractors implicated in fraud allegations to repay the money,
represented in stolen funds from the U.S. government, legal roadblocks
prevented Iraq from retrieving funds taken from the Iraqi government by
the U.S.-led occupation and then paid to contractors who failed to
deliver projects handed to them.
''In effect, it makes Iraq into
a 'free-fraud zone,' "said Virginia attorney, Alan Grayson, who is
suing Rhode Island-based company Custer Battles. Last month, a federal
jury found the private security company liable for $3 million in
fraudulent billings in Iraq, The Globe
a United Nations panel hired to monitor the use of Iraq's seized assets
doesn't have the authority to prosecute those implicated in the fraud
cases. ''The Iraqi people are out of luck, the way it stands right
now," said Patrick Burns, spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a
watchdog group responsible for aiding Americans file cases against
Even officials at the Iraqi government, currently
busy solving deadlocked negotiations over the formation of a new
government, have failed to file any official complaint about funds that
were paid out to dishonest contractors, although recovering the stolen
money has become more critical at this time, given the budget shortfall
of billions of dollars.The Real WMD's in Iraq ľ Ours
Weapons of mass destruction are all over Iraq. Iraqi children are
playing among them every day. According to Iraqi doctors, many are
developing cancer as a result. The WMD in question is depleted uranium
(DU). Left over after natural uranium has been processed, DU is 1.7
times denser than lead - effective in penetrating armored vehicles such
as tanks. After a DU shell strikes, it penetrates before exploding into
a burning vapor that turns to dust.
"Depleted uranium has a half
life of 4.7 billion years - that means thousands upon thousands of
Iraqi children will suffer for tens of thousands of years to come. This
is what I call terrorism," says Dr Ahmad Hardan.
As a special
scientific adviser to the World Health Organization, the United Nations
and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr Hardan is the man who documented
the effects of depleted uranium in Iraq between 1991 and 2002. U.S.
forces admit to using at least 300 tons of D.U. ordinance in Gulf War
I, with up to six times that amount in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it can dramatically alter the
entire fabric of family life. The emotional impact can be huge. Imagine
having nine members of your family with malignancies at the same time.
Welcome to Basra, Iraq.
Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, educated in England,
is head oncologist at the Saddam teaching hospital in Basra. There are
nine people with cancer in his wife's family. They are not alone. At a
conference in Japan in 2004 he stated:
strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen
before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For
example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with 2
cancers - one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer
was developing in his other kidney--he had three different cancer
types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58
families here with more than one person affected by cancer. Dr Yasin, a
general Surgeon here has two uncles, a sister and cousin affected with
cancer. Dr Mazen, another specialist, has six family members suffering
from cancer. My wife has nine members of her family with cancer".
in particular are susceptible to depleted uranium( DU) poisoning. They
have a much higher absorption rate as their blood is being used to
build and nourish their bones and they have a lot of soft tissues. Bone
cancer and leukemia used to be diseases affecting them the most,
however, cancer of the lymph system, which can develop anywhere on the
body, and has rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common."
one point after the war, a Basra hospital reported treating upwards of
600 children per day with symptoms of radiation sickness. 600 children
The widespread use of DU weapons was not limited to
Iraq. The Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), founded by Dr. Asaf
Durakovic, a former U.S. Army Colonel, did extensive field studies in
Afghanistan just after the invasion. Excerpts from their field reports
"We took both soil and biological samples, and found
considerable presence in urine samples of radioactivity; the heavy
concentration astonished us. They were beyond our wildest
imagination."......."The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of
public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception,
at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion
of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal
contamination by uranium."
In Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, UMRC lab
results indicated high concentrations of NON-DEPLETED URANIUM, with the
concentrations being much higher than in DU victims from Iraq.
Afghanistan was evidently used as a testing ground for a new generation
of "bunker buster" bombs containing high concentrations of other
Dr. Durakovic stated, "The [U.S.] Veteran's
Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating
depleted uranium in the human body ...uranium does cause cancer,
uranium does cause mutation, and uranium does kill. If we continue with
the irresponsible contamination of the biosphere, the denial of the
fact that human life is endangered by the deadly uranium isotope, then
we are doing disservice to ourselves, disservice to the truth,
disservice to God and to all the generations who follow."
in Iraq under Saddam Hussein was pretty bad much of the time, and being
ruled by the Taliban in Afghanistan was no picnic either, but DU is
worse. It's not safe even to breathe. It's the ultimate tyranny.
The linked article contains EXTREMELY disturbing photos under the
heading "Photos of Babies Deformed at Birth as a Result of Depleted
Uranium (DU) 2003"
]COMMENTARY AND ANALYSISTorturing you
: This article from Salon
by Michael Scherer on the Pentagon's torture method approval process
for the "20th hijacker," Mohammed al-Qahtani, at Gitmo made me think,
"Wait a minute, I've got a much more messed up account of what Rumsfeld
approved in my archives than the one I'm reading here."
But just for context on what's to come, let's just start with this from the Scherer article:
"...Rumsfeld revoked the harsher interrogation methods [on al-Qahtani a
few days after he approved them], apparently responding to military
lawyers who had raised concerns that they may constitute cruel and
unusual punishment or torture."
Ok, here's Rumsfeld with radio host Michael Smerconish talking about al-Qahtani's treatment in 2005:
I'm reading that we played Christina Aguilera music, that we
interrogated this guy in a room that had 9/11 victim photographs on the
wall, and I'm saying to myself, pardon me, but where in the hell is the
RUMSFELD: Yeah. There's no torture going on down there and there hasn't been.
let's go back to the tape -- the the tape in this case being an issue
from Time magazine with the cover story, Prisoner 063. Turns out, Time
got its hands on the prison logs of the interrogations on al-Qahtani.
You tell me if this isn't America's heart of darkness, for all to see:
11 December 2002
Detainee was reminded that no one loved, cared, or remembered him. He
was reminded that he was less than human and that animals had more
freedom and love than he does [sic]. He was taken outside to see a
family of banana rats. The banana rats were moving around freely,
eating, showing concern for one another. Detainee was compared to the
family of banana rats and reinforced that they had more love, freedom,
and concern than he had. Detainee began to cry during that comparison.
With this Salon
article, we now know that Rumsfeld was getting weekly updates on Qahtani's "progress.""What You Have Therefore Caused Me To Understand, George, Is That Even Impeaching You Is Not Sufficient"
: I think, George, that quite frankly you scare a lot of people.
I'm not talking about little people like me. I think you scare the
bejeezers out of the mucky-mucks who own and run you, the people who
bankrolled your career and who pull your puppet strings.
short, you, George, have the capacity to single-handedly rip the veil
off the 200-plus year illusion of American exceptionalism, economic
aggression and exclusionary politics that has sustained our national
ego for all this time.
You, George, seem to have the innate
ability to disillusion oh so many millions of people with our hollow
economic, political and social orders so that, more than any
progressive, more than any liberal, more than any revolutionary, you
could actually kick out the psychic props that hold up the whole rotten
Thus are you most frightening to those who desperately
want to paint the smiley face back on capitalism, who want to re-clothe
the iron military fist in silken gloves of "diplomacy" and who want to
restore the myth that America is somehow better than everyone else.
George, have not even bothered with the niceties of gloving your bloody
hands in silk. You have not trifled with the diplomacy of manners or
the perfume of noble causes. Yours is the face of raw, naked power.
You have dropped the mask, George, and the face you show us is not the one that our Owners and Leaders want us to see.
frightening to the Leaders and Owners and String-Pullers of our world
is how effectively you have discredited most of the major institutions
they rely on to command respect and obedience from all of us.
By packing the Courts with right wing radicals you have denigrated the judiciary.
By cozying up with fanatical religious bigots, you have undermined the respectability of the religion you profess.
claiming the power to eavesdrop, kidnap, torture, incarcerate and wage
war, literally at will, you have debased the presidency and proved the
need for a weaker, a more constrained Executive Branch of Government.
manipulating world financial institutions, discarding treaties
willy-nilly, and force-feeding your authoritarian brand of top-down
"democracy" down the throats of the unwilling, you have caused
disrepute for everything that you tout.
What you have therefore
caused me to understand, George, is that even impeaching you is not
sufficient. Replacing you with a prettier face or a nicer president or
a Democratic Congress is not enough. Nostalgia for a better time is not
enough. George, what you have taught me is that there really is nothing
to be nostalgic for.
That doesn't mean that we shouldn't cherry-pick the best from whatever any culture or economic or political theory can offer.
simply means that we have to look forward to creating new and better
systems, rather than just dumping your kind and returning to a mistaken
nostalgia for a past that never was.
This is a troubling understanding, but thanks to you, George, many people now think that way.Are Americans pro-war?
"Americans aren't against the war in Iraq because it is wrong; they are
against it because we are losing," said former UN weapons inspector
Scott Ritter recently. Are Americans pro-war? And if so, why? Perhaps
they don't realize what a nightmare war is or the terrible devastation
that it brings?
Except for the tragedies suffered by the 9-11
families, none of us have ever experienced the gore, heartbreak and
cruelty of war in our own hometowns. No one living here in America has
seen anything even vaguely resembling the horrors of the Dresden
firebombing or the Hiroshima nuclear attack or Baghdad after Shock and
None of us have ever seen our homes, our neighborhoods, our
cities in flames while we scramble among the ruins of, say, Chicago or
Reno, desperately looking for food.
However, Ritter's comment
got me thinking. Even though they have never experienced its
devastating effects, Americans ARE completely familiar with war. And
they love it!
From what I have seen -- from firsthand experience
-- Americans love every aspect of war. They love explosions. They love
killing. They love carnage. They love blood. They love to see children
butchered and women raped and people tortured and cut up.
I know all about this hidden, dark side of the American psyche? Am I a
clinical psychologist? Do I work for the National Security Agency
spying on people's e-mails? No.
I watch television. I go to the movies.
Americans didn't like torture and grim cruelty and murder and gore, why
would CSI be our most popular television program? Why can we bet good
money (and win almost every time) that the number one box office smash
this week will be a film that involves the evisceration of at least ten
In the movies and on TV, Americans are encouraged and
TAUGHT to love brutality, murder and war. And they are fast learners.
If they weren't, we would all refuse to watch Law and Order SVU and
Veronica Mars and all start watching Masterpiece Theater and Barney
My solution? Easy. Let's demand a law requiring that
every movie that shows violence on-screen be given an "X" rating. And
NO violence on television. EVER.
PS: If America wants to
experience war in its own back yard, the idiots in the White House will
give us that chance UNLESS WE PUT THEM IN JAIL IMMEDIATELY. GWB is
actually planning to bomb Iran!
When (not if) Bush blows up
Iran, Iran will retaliate and blow up Israel -- and then all hell will
break loose in the Middle East. And what's to keep the war from
migrating here? Nothing. To quote Seymour Hersh, "A retired four-star
general told me that, despite the eight thousand British troops in the
region, 'the Iranians could take Basra with ten mullahs and one sound
truck.'" And then the insurgents will move here.
straight, America. The Bush crazies actually WANT a war on our soil.
Why? Who knows what goes on in the brains of madmen. Perhaps they are
dreaming of Armageddon. Or maybe they just want to rule a chaotic world
from their bunkers. In either case, we are screwed.
If, in the
next three months, Bush isn't wearing an orange jump suit, America had
better learn to love war even more than they do right now -- because,
if Bush has his way, it will soon be coming to a back yard near you!Globalization Making the West More Intolerant
: I have just read Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword
It is a classic. Published in 1947, it analyses the nature of Japanese
culture. Almost 60 years and many books later, it remains a seminal
work. Like all great works of scholarship, the book manages to
transcend the time and era in which it was written, ageing in certain
obvious respects, but retaining much of its insight and relevance. If
you want to make sense of Japan, Benedict's book is as good a place to
start as any. Here, though, I am interested in the origins and purpose
of the book.
In June 1944, as the American offensive against
Japan began to bear fruit, Benedict, a cultural anthropologist, was
assigned by the US Office of War Administration to work on a project to
try and understand Japan as the US began to contemplate the challenge
that would be posed by its defeat, occupation and subsequent
administration. Her book is written with a complete absence of
judgmental attitude or sense of superiority, which one might expect;
she treats Japan's culture as of equal merit, virtue and logic to that
of the US. In other words, its tone and approach could not be more
different from the present US attitude toward Iraq or that country's
arrogant and condescending manner toward the rest of the world.
prompts a deeper question: Has the world, since then, gone backward?
Has the effect of globalization been to promote a less respectful and
more intolerant attitude in the West, and certainly on the part of the
US, toward other cultures, religions and societies? This contradicts
the widely held view that globalization has made the world smaller and
everyone more knowing. The answer, at least in some respects, is in the
affirmative - with untold consequences lying in wait for us. But more
of that later; first, why and how has globalization had this effect?
course, it can rightly be argued that European colonialism embodied a
fundamental intolerance, a belief that the role of European nations was
to bring "civilized values" to the natives, wherever they might be. It
made no pretence, however, at seeking to make their countries like
ours: Their enlightenment, as the colonial attitude would have it,
depended on our physical presence. In no instance, for example, were
they regarded as suitable for democracy, except where there was racial
affinity, with white settler majorities, as in Australia and Canada. In
contrast, the underlying assumption with globalization is that the
whole world is moving in the same direction, toward the same
destination: it is becoming, and should become, more and more like the
Where once democracy was not suitable for anyone else, now
everyone is required to adopt it, with all its Western-style
In short, globalization has brought with it a new
kind of Western hubris - present in Europe in a relatively benign form,
manifest in the US in the belligerent manner befitting a superpower:
that Western values and arrangements should be those of the world; that
they are of universal application and merit. At the heart of
globalization is a new kind of intolerance in the West toward other
cultures, traditions and values, less brutal than in the era of
colonialism, but more comprehensive and totalitarian.
that each culture is possessed of its own specific wisdom and
characteristics, its own novelty and uniqueness, born of its own
individual struggle over thousands of years to cope with nature and
circumstance, has been drowned out by the hue and cry that the world is
now one, that the Western model - neoliberal markets, democracy and the
rest - is the template for all.
The net effect of all
this is a lack of knowledge of and respect for difference.
Globalization has obliterated distance, not just physically but also,
most dangerously, mentally. It creates the illusion of intimacy when,
in fact, the mental distances have changed little. It has concertinaed
the world without engendering the necessary respect, recognition and
tolerance that must accompany it. Globalization is itself an exemplar
of the problem. Goods and capital may move far more freely than ever
before, but the movement of labor has barely changed. Jeans may be
inanimate, but migrants are the personification of difference.
Everywhere, migration is a charged political issue. In the modern era
of globalization, everything is allowed to move except people.
three decades of headlong globalization, the world finds itself in
dangerous and uncharted waters. Globalization has fostered the illusion
of intimacy while intolerance remains as powerful and unyielding as
ever - or rather, has intensified, because the Western expectation is
now that everyone should be like us. And when they palpably are not, as
in the case of the Islamic world, then a militant intolerance rapidly
rises to the surface. The wave of Islamophobia in the West - among the
people and the intelligentsia alike - is a classic example of this new
intolerance. When I wrote a recent article on the Danish cartoons,
arguing that Europe had to learn a new way of relating to the world, I
got nearly 400 e-mails in response. Over half of these were negative
and many were frightening in their intolerance, especially those from
the US, which were often reminiscent in their tone to the worst days of
We live in a world that we are much more intimate
with and yet, at the same time, also much more intolerant of - unless,
that is, it conforms to our way of thinking. It is the Western
condition of globalization, and its paradox of intimacy and intolerance
suggests that the Western reaction to the remorseless rise of the
non-West will be far from benign.Iran: Iraq replayed?
For those who think that Iraq is the worst that can happen in the
region, wait till Iran retaliates against possible air strikes by
Israel or the U.S. Wait till the Jewish state and America decide in
return to launch an unprecedented retaliatory attack, inflicting an
unexpected extent of damage upon the entire Middle East.
some experts expect that the current U.S.-Iran standoff over the
Islamic Republic's nuclear program to end with a diplomatic settlement,
given the struggle the U.S. Army is facing in post- Iraq war. But, with
recently published reports suggesting the opposite, many analysts are
warning against an imminent U.S.-Iran war the coming weeks.
There will be an attack. According to an editorial on The New Statesman,
as long as the madman (Bush) is in the White House, now considering
bombing another country in the region, a Third World War is imminent. A
recent article by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the
suggested the same.
But the U.S. media seems less concerned than the British over the issue.
headlines on the British media are mostly booked for the Iranian
nuclear issue, which didn't even make the front pages of the Washington
Post or New York Times.
Will there be a war on Iran or not?
would be a surprise for the British people, who don't expect their
leader, Prime Minister Tony Blair, to dare repeat Iraq mistake, but in
the U.S., the situation is a bit different.
Many questions surround the issue of a possible U.S. war on Iran.
European allies support the U.S. this time? Will Bush's admin allow the
use of nuclear weapons against the country to knock down its nuclear
Washington is already working from the assumption that
the U.S. will attack Iran, possibly using nuclear weapons during this
presidency. Also, like what happened in Iraq, the Bush administration
is expected to have the support of Britain and Australia in this war.
the use of nuclear weapons against Iran, this has become an issue of a
heated debate in Washington these days, with struggle under way between
foreign-policy pragmatists and ideological zealots, the editorial adds.
U.S. is divided between these two camps. Those two camps represent
senior members of the Bush administration itself, the State Department,
CIA, Pentagon and the powerful think-tanks.
Recently, it's been
reported that the U.S. Secretary of Condoleezza Rice has fallen out
with Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, and is on the verge of
abandoning the ideological ship - just as the former Secretary of State
Colin Powell did in private meeting over Iraq, and later on announced
While the first faction agrees with the
British, French and German view which prefers isolating Iran
diplomatically rather than militarily, and supports imposing UN
Security Council sanctions on Iran. The second faction includes all
those who agree with the unwise policies of the American President
which prefers using force to implement his agenda, no matter what.
many officials, including those in the UN, believe the American
President can and will press the nuclear button, many others in
Washington believe that "an all-powerful establishment, from the might
of the top brass at the Pentagon to the consensus wisdom of practically
every senior politician, will prevail against even an out-of-control
With circulating media reports suggesting that the
U.S. Department of Defense is actively considering to bomb Iranian
cities using nuclear weapons, it becomes clear that the U.S. current
President, Mr. George W. Bush is a falling victim to the same lack of
imagination that led John F. Kennedy imagine he could attack China to
keep it from producing a nuclear bomb without igniting a major war.
also worrying is the catastrophic possibility that Bush will form
another "coalition of the willing" by teaming up with Israel in a joint
attack on the Islamic Republic.
Kennedy's failure 45 years ago
to understand the consequence of his unwise plan to bomb China in
circumstances remarkably like today's shows how easily Bush could fall
into a major new war in the Middle East.Zarqawi: the Pentagon's ongoing war of deception
The Zarqawi case is vastly different from traditional forms of
propaganda. It is information-warfare aimed exclusively at the American
people with the intention of manipulating their perceptions. It builds
the case for war out of whole cloth. Zarqawi has become the central
justification for the ongoing occupation; a threatening, spectral
figure who embodies the evils of terrorism. His image has overshadowed
the obvious self-serving motives which led to the invasion and the
subsequent destruction of Iraqi society.
Undoubtedly, many of
the generals who are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation must be
uncomfortable with this deliberate effort to deceive the American
people. Not surprisingly, support for the war has eroded in direct
proportion to the administration's loss of credibility. The lies simply
haven't helped at all. The exposing of Zarqawi is bound to further
erode whatever small amount of faith still remains in government's
The influence of foreign fighters in Iraq has
always been trivial. In the sieges of Falluja and Tel Afar less than 3%
of those captured were non-Iraqis, and even those figures are in doubt.
Never the less, a disproportionate number of articles appearing in the
media have focused on uncorroborated claims of suicide bombings,
beheadings, etc in an attempt to demonize an enemy that is mostly a
Pentagon invention. The lesson we draw from this is powerful; nothing
the military says can be trusted.
The civilian leadership,
particularly Donald Rumsfeld, who we expect has authored many of these
clever propaganda-schemes, should consider now whether the damage to
their credibility has been worth the small gains they may have made in
hoodwinking the public. It may be altruistic to think that "honesty is
the best policy", but clearly, deception as policy has some glaring
shortcomings as support for the war continues to diminish.
The media's role in facilitating the Zarqawi charade cannot be overstated. New York Times
reporter Dexter Filkins has been singled out for running a dubious
letter from Zarqawi "boasting of suicide attacks" on the front page of
. Filkins sheepishly
admitted that he was "skeptical" about the letter but that didn't stop
him (or 1,400 newspapers across the world) from using the piece to
spread unsubstantiated claims about an imaginary Muslim terrorist.
of course, is a very bright guy and knew that he was being used to
promote the racist themes that have engendered greater suspicion of
Muslims and fueled public hysteria. Still, Filkins is just one small
cog in the mighty corporate propaganda-matrix which spews out anti-Arab
hatred on a daily basis. Zarqawi is merely a way of vilifying the
people who occupy the lands which possess the resources required to
maintain western prosperity.
In my own research, I have spend a
few evenings going over hundreds of articles on Zarqawi to find
anything that might confirm his existence. As noted earlier, there are
no reliable eyewitness accounts. What we find instead, is sometimes as
many as 2,200 articles appearing on any given day pointing to Zarqawi's
involvement in a bombing without any tangible proof of his authenticity.
The news has simply become another "faith based" operation like the Bush administration.
news is devoid of any factual content. The accepted policy of the news
agencies (without exception) is to reiterate the same Pentagon talking
points, suspicions, and baseless claims as their peers. This gives us
some insight into the collaborative relationship between the corporate
media and their allies in the defense establishment. The Pentagon's
apparitions immediately become part of the national dialogue completely
unchallenged by anyone in the news industry.
We should not
expect that the Zarqawi myth will disappear anytime soon. The Bush
administration has demonstrated a stubborn determination to cling to
their fantasies no matter how threadbare they become. Besides, as
Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt noted, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the
most successful information campaign to date".
Indeed, it probably is.Blood on Our Hands
: The insightful Mr. K Gajendra Singh writes:
could slip into fascism, with its political leadership, corrupt to the
core, as new scandals prove everyday, if not checked by its great US
people. People around the world have started doubting if it were ever
This country, my country, has already become a
fascist police state. Our government lies to the people, spies on
citizens, kidnaps, imprisons without trial, engages in torture, and is
leading the country to ruin. Incredibly, all of this is done with the
support of its citizens. How is this possible? How can a democratic
government abandon the people it serves and squander blood, treasure,
and traditions in an irrational pursuit of global domination?
realize that the government no longer serves the people. It has been
bought by the transnational corporate power structure and serves them,
and is now simply the military arm of the corporations. Meanwhile, the
corporate media fulfills the propaganda role - they control what the
people experience as reality and therefore control how the people
think. They have the public so filled with fear that they will agree to
The ruling class knows, of course, that the USA is
headed for ruin, but it does not care because it is transnational, by
which I mean the corporate structure transcends the nation-state
structure. The have no allegiance to any nation or people; their only
allegiance is to profit and power. Gary Alan Scott notes, "a steady
transformation from manufacturing to capital management," a significant
observation because money is the most transnational of assets. He goes
on to write
The disappearance of union jobs, outsourcing and
downsizing has been the crowning achievement of American business
relations over the past 30 years or so. The other factors contributing
to what Bigioni calls "the fascist trajectory" includes low taxes,
various forms of corporate welfare, the decimation of small businesses,
and the ability of corporations to discharge obligations to employees,
to the environment, and to the country as a whole.
prosecution of war the corporations plunder the riches of this nation
while simultaneously intent on gaining control of the entire Middle
East region's oil reserves so that they can continue to dominate the
world for decades to come.
On the other side of this equation is
an American population that resembles spoiled rich children. They are
lazy, feel entitled to whatever they want, and have no sense of
responsibility to the world community. They are not evil by their own
design, but are willfully blind to evil so long as it does not
interfere with their comfortable existence. They do not seek out truth,
but accept as truth the corporate propaganda stream because it is easy
and because it tells them what they want to hear which is that they are
the victims, the righteous victims of a terrible outside evil. If they
will just surrender their individual rights, their money, their
children, their freedom, then the government will make them safe to go
on with their empty lives of mass consumption.
I think it will
take outside intervention to counter the force of the western corporate
military machine, to contain and reverse their belligerent ambitions,
to destroy their war making powers, and ultimately to hold them
accountable for what they have done. My hope is that one day Cheney,
Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rice, Feith, Bolton, and the rest of
the war making administration will be tried at the international court
in the Hague, just as the Nazi war makers were tried in Nuremberg, and
I hope that a good number of them will be hanged for what they have
done. And we American people will see that we all have blood on our
hands and will be shamed by what we have let happen. Our economy will
sink and China will rise as the new economic leader, and the world will
get on about its business.Designated Fall Guy: Replacing Rummy
When the weight of our government's failure to respond to the
catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina dropped like a Daisy Cutter on
America's mainstream consciousness, a convergence of political
operatives and media spokespersons demanded a fall guy. They received
one post-haste in the person of wide-eyed FEMA Director Michael Brown,
who was suddenly portrayed as an unqualified political appointee, a
deer caught in the headlights, utterly overwhelmed by the magnitude of
Of course, Michael Brown did not appoint himself.
later it became apparent that White House operatives (perhaps
preoccupied with other pressing concerns) miscalculated. They failed to
purge video records portraying the beleaguered "Brownie" as a fully
informed and engaged administrator desperately pressing the president
for coordinated action.
Michael Brown was not the reason for our
government's failure in the Gulf Coast region and Secretary of Defense
Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld is not the reason for the catastrophe in Iraq.
did not author the Bush Doctrine of aggressive war -- Wolfowitz, Perle,
Feith and Cheney did. Rumsfeld was neither the first nor the most
prominent member of the administration to draw the bull's eye on
Baghdad -- Cheney and the neocon gulag were. Rumsfeld was not a leading
disseminator of disinformation to justify an unjustifiable war. That
designation goes to Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney and the
president himself. Rumsfeld did not declare war or grant authorization
for war -- Congress did.
Donald Rumsfeld did not appoint himself -- Dick Cheney did.
may well have sanctioned the torture regime manifest in Abu Ghraib,
Guantanamo Bay, eastern Europe and a handful of allied Middle East
nations (and for that he should be tried by an international tribunal
for war crimes) but he is not responsible for an ill-conceived and
immoral war in the cradle of civilization.
Beyond the growing
number of retired generals, there are many powerful persons in
Washington who are anxious to pin the blame on Donald Rumsfeld but it
would in fact be a tragic mistake because it would clear the path for
further disasters in foreign policy -- most prominently, the
prospective war with Iran.
Pinning the blame on Rummy would only
serve the masters of war by feed the myth that the problem with the war
in Iraq is not the war itself or the policies that precipitated it but
the conduct and strategies of the war makers. Nothing could be more
removed from reality.
As bad as the current state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan is, it could be much worse.
rewriting history is the speculative preoccupation of neocon
philosophers masquerading as historians, let us assume that the notion
of overwhelming force from the Powell Doctrine was in place at the
inception of the war. Let us assume that the presence of hundreds of
thousands of occupying soldiers was sufficient to suppress looting and
create an illusion of order.
The resistance would still be in
place. The soldiers of Saddam's army would still have thrown off their
uniforms and blended into the civilian population. Perhaps we could
have killed more Iraqis, ravaged more villages, towns and cities, but
every death creates a backlash of hatred and resentment, fueling the
resistance. With more troops on the ground, we would surely have lost
more soldiers and suffered more casualties yet we would still face the
same reality: stalemate.
Was it Rumsfeld's decision to disband
the Iraqi army? If that decision was reversed, does it follow that the
resistance would be defeated? Hardly. The Iraqi army was disbanded
because it could not be trusted to pledge allegiance to the occupation.
Would the Iraqi army have participated in the purge of Fallujah or
would it have come to the defense of their fellow citizens? What is
often portrayed as a strategic error is at best an unknown. The Iraqi
army is not a monolith. It would inevitably, as would most armies, have
divided between the corrupted, choosing to play ball with the
occupiers, and the resistance, choosing to defend their own people.
even if we assume that all of the neocon fantasies magically came to
fruition (a pipedream if ever there was one), the outcome would only be
postponed with increasingly tragic consequences.
Let us assume
that we were greeted as liberators, that we established a viable
representative government, that we soundly defeated the resistance and
withdrew the bulk of our troops. What then? Would the Iraqis be content
to yield control of their oil in perpetuity? Would they be content to
host an American military presence on their land?
Where we speak
of four-year, eight-year or even 40-year commitments, the inhabitants
of the Persian Gulf speak of centuries. People who have struggled
across millennia against foreign invaders and occupiers, many of them
with religious fervor and a sense of god-given destiny, will never
yield -- certainly not in a matter of decades.
Just as our
continued military presence in Saudi Arabia following the 1991 war
incited extremists, sparking terrorist explosions all over the planet,
our continued military presence in ancient Mesopotamia will only do the
same. As long as our forces are stationed on their land, Americans
everywhere will be targets.
Blaming Donald Rumsfeld for the
disaster in Iraq is like blaming Robert McNamara for Vietnam.
(Somewhere the ghosts of LBJ and Dick Nixon are laughing.)
the strategies of war for an ill conceived, misbegotten and morally
bankrupt act of aggression is like rearranging the deck chairs on the
No matter how we reposition the pieces on the board,
the fact remains that this was a war of choice, guided by a tortured
and thoroughly discredited philosophy of dominance by military conquest
-- in short, a war that should never have been fought.
only one person who bears ultimate responsibility for the disaster in
Iraq. On the rare occasions that he is not vacationing, he reports to
the Oval Office every morning.
Beyond the president, if blame
must be assigned, a portion belongs to all of us. If we are in fact a
democracy, we cannot escape our fair share. We enabled this incompetent
leader and his band of neocon warlords to capture the reigns of power
for eight long years.
If we now allow our leadership to evade
responsibility on the myth of strategic blunders, we will pave the way
for further disasters. Bush Administration: On the domestic and foreign fronts -- from triumph to near collapse in less than five years
How time flies and how, to quote Donald Rumsfeld's infamous phrase
about looters in Baghdad, "stuff happens." Looked at in the light of
history, the incipient collapse of the Bush project seems to have
occurred in hardly a blink. Its brevity is, in a sense, nearly
inexplicable, as unexpected as water running uphill or an alien
visitation. We are, after all, talking about the ruling officials of
the globe's only "hyperpower" who have faced next to no opposition at
home. In these years, the Democratic Party proved itself hardly a party
at all, no less an oppositional one, and the active antiwar movement,
gigantic before the invasion of Iraq, has remained, at best,
modest-sized ever since. At the same time, in Iraq the administration
faced not a unified national liberation movement backed by a superpower
as in Vietnam, but a ragtag, if fierce, Sunni resistance and
recalcitrant Shiite semi-allies, all now at each other's throats.
makes the last few years so strange is that this administration has
essentially been losing its campaigns, at home and abroad, to nobody.
What comes to mind is the famous phrase of cartoonist Walt Kelly's
character, Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Perhaps it's
simply the case that -- in Rumsfeldian terms -- it's hard for people
with the mentality of looters to create a permanent edifice, even when
they set their minds to it.
Undoubtedly, the Bush
administration is not yet out of ammunition, either figuratively or
literally. Even as they stand in the rubble of their world, top Bush
officials remain quite capable of making decisions that will export
ruins to, say, Iran and create further chaos in the oil heartlands of
the planet as well as here at home. I don't sell them short, nor do I
see a Democratic Party capable of taking the reins of the globe's last
standing imperial power and doing a heck of a lot better. Still,
there's something consoling in knowing that history remains filled with
surprises and that the short, rubble-filled, disastrous career of the
Bush administration looks likely to be one of them.BEYOND IRAQUN
demands US provide more information about its treatment of prisoners at
home and foreign terrorism suspects held in Iraq, Afghanistan and
: In questions submitted to Washington, the panel
also sought information about secret detention facilities and
specifically whether the United States assumed responsibility for
alleged acts of torture in them, U.N. officials said on TuesdayQUOTE OF THE DAY
"One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over
my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel,
an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who
tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his
country. This truth escapes millions." --- Mike Hastie, U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71, December 13, 2004