Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
'SURGE' FAILS AT PRIMARY AIMS: Bush's escalation strategy has been unable to attain its primary goal of reducing violence to "help make reconciliation possible ." While the administration has been trumpeting a trend of decreasing violence, Iraqi government figures obtained yesterday reveal that the "number of Iraqis killed in insurgent and sectarian attacks rose in October, " illustrating how the administration is pushing claims that it is gaining "momentum " in Iraq while ignoring the pervasive volatility there.
Although levels of violence are down from "pre-surge" levels, "there might be fewer attacks because you have ethnically cleansed neighborhoods ," according to the Government Accountability Office. A recent report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction stated, "Despite reduced violence [since pre-surge levels], officials are pessimistic that lasting reconciliation is occurring " in Baghdad and surrounding provinces. Earlier this month, "several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith " in the prospect of reconciliation."
At the time of that post, I noted that there was a protest going on by the State Department folks and that, when I found a source regarding the situation, I would post it here. Well, Wonkette had a few choice words about the situation - and a link or two to some news articles about the flap. Click the link for more.
The biggest complaints diplomats have about the U.S. Embassy in Iraq is that, well, people tend to shoot at it. In fact, they’re always shooting at things in Iraq. Everywhere! And of course, this makes for some saaaad pandas:
One woman said she returned from a tour in Basra with post-traumatic stress disorder only to find that the State Department would not authorize medical treatment.
Boo-freaking-hoo, lady. “Ooh, look at me, I saw a man get shot and stuff and… and… it was all weird, I’m a little baby, wah wah wah!” Get over it! Go and serve your country already, like I do every day by making fun of it on the Internet.
It looks like the focus of the war is shifting. I posted not long ago about the shift from ground attacks to the increased use of bombing. This saves American lives, but causes significantly more civilian casualties. Of course, if you're George W. Bush, I suppose the loss of civilian Iraqis is far more preferable than the loss of American soldiers. BUT - that's still not the whole truth. The following is from Daily Kos - click the link to read more.
So far this year, 839 coalition soldiers have died in Iraq. Ten fewer than were killed in all of 2004, the year with the worst fatality tally so
Since March 20, 2003, when the invasion of Iraq was launched, there have been 4145 coalition fatalities.
The morality of those in the Bush Administration, along with their professed love for the Christian Word, must lead one to believe, if they are to be believed, that their God is a heartless, cruel and demonic God.
The following is from Daily Kos - click the link to read more.
Lt. Col. Colby Vokey has served in the Marine Corp for the last twenty years, and spent the last four as chief of the Corps' defense lawyers for the western United States. Everyone who knows Vokey has described him as the straightest of straight arrows.
The U.S. has imprisoned hundreds of "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay in a military legal system that Vokey denounces as "horrific." Vokey saw the system first-hand when he agreed two years ago to defend a teenager there who had been charged with murdering a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Vokey said he knew the case would be difficult, but he discovered that the legal system at Guantanamo is a "sham."
Vokey's 15 year-old Canadian client had been tortured into signing a confession, including being used a "human mop" to wipe his own urine off the floor after being left chained in painful positions for many hours at a time. Vokey was kept from meeting with his client, or from seeing the evidence against him.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The following is from CBS via Crooks and Liars. Click the link to read more.
After six years, the liberation of Afghanistan has become a triumph without victory. The fighting is the greatest it has been since the beginning of the war and more civilians are dying. In fact, 60 Minutes was surprised to hear this: while the enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, a similar number of civilians have been killed by American forces. With relatively few troops there, the U.S. and NATO rely on air power. The number of civilians killed in air strikes has doubled.
IRAQ -- CHALABI REEMERGES AS 'IMPORTANT PART' OF PETRAEUS STRATEGY: Yesterday, McClatchy revealed that Ahmad Chalabi, the disgraced Iraqi politician who embellished reports of Iraq's WMDs to encourage an American attack, has "re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq." As the new head of the services committee, charged with bringing electricity, health, and other services to Baghdad, Chalabi serves at "the heart of the surge plan." Col. Steven Boylan, spokesman for Gen. David Petraeus, heralded Chalabi as "an important part of the process." Chalabi became the darling of the Bush administration after "providing White House and Pentagon officials and journalists with a stream of bogus or exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs and ties to terrorists." Since then, he has revealed U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran, "sabotaged" U.S.-backed de-Baathification reforms, allegedly engaged in a counterfeiting operation in Iraq, and was convicted of embezzlement.
From the Progress Report - 10/29/2007
Iran is the country most people around the world would like see having less power, followed closely by the United States, a new opinion poll showed on Wednesday.
The survey, which polled 57,000 people from 52 countries, showed 39 percent of respondents wanted to see the influence of Iran diminished, compared with 37 percent for the United States.
One of my favorites is #3 - Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq.
Click the link to read more.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
From Daily Kos - click the link to read more.
For some reason the State Department is having trouble finding volunteers to work in Iraq, so for the first time since the Vietnam War: ...200 to 300 employees will be notified of their selection as "prime candidates" for 50 open positions in Iraq...However, if an insufficient number volunteers by Nov. 12, a department panel will determine which ones will be ordered to report to the Baghdad embassy next summer.
Those who receive the selection letters will have 10 days to file a written notice of objection. The review panel will consider the objections, but Thomas made clear that a serious, documented medical condition is likely to be the only valid excuse. The department has the authority to fire anyone who refuses to accept an assignment.
An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are "enemy combatants".
The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as "unconscionable".
Forget impeachment. Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment. Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war.
We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty - which is huge in the world of intelligence - that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers - Seal Team 6 - nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys - now, pull the damn trigger.
Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.
You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.