Interviews with & Writings by Antiwar GIs & Vets

NOTE: Information regarding the WMD lies and other matters directly related to the prior stage of the war is available at Iraq Antiwar Resources. Also there are antiwar songs, poetry, video, statements of famous people, and much more.

April, 2005

The Occupation

Occupation Resistance Analysis

For some, things can get worse: On Falluja Streets, New Government Seen as Threat.

Report that the judge investigating the Abu Ghraib cases is also in charge of investigating (and apparently burrying) Tiger Force atrocities in Vietnam: From the Song Ve Valley to Abu Ghraib: The Tiger Force Investigation Revisited.

When congresspeople visited Guantanamo Concentration Camp: Interrogations faked at Guantanamo, witness says to make it look like they were obtaining useful intelligence.

A reminder of the old regime: Mass Grave with Up to 1,500 Bodies Found in Iraq. Apparently, victims were Kurds.

Italy rejects cover-up: US and Italy clash over shooting.

Interview with ousted UN Human Rights official: UN Human Rights Investigator in Afghanistan Ousted Under U.S. Pressure.

In his new report, Bassiouni accused US troops of breaking into homes, arbitrarily arresting residents and torturing detainees. He estimated that around 1,000 Afghans had been detained. Bassiouni also indicated that the US-led forces had committed "sexual abuse, beatings, torture and use of force resulting in death...."
Now, the next issue is the fact that the United States and the coalition forces consider themselves above and beyond the reach of the law. They feel they -- that human rights don't apply to them, the international conventions don't apply to them, nobody can ask them what they're doing, and nobody can hold them accountable.... Now, the Defense Department and the U.S. government take the position that nobody can ask the U.S. government what it's doing in Afghanistan....
But, when it came to inquiry into what the U.S. forces are doing, there a stone wall was put. And I suspect it has to do with the fact that in the last two months the U.S. has been moving prisoners from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, and that soon we will see the D.O.D. open up Guantanamo for international inspection. And by then the worst cases will have been transferred to Afghanistan; Guantanamo will have been repainted, recarpeted, and would look very nice, and people who would go to inspect it there will find nothing wrong. But, of course, that means that those people who have been transferred from Guantanamo to Afghanistan could not be interviewed or seen by anybody else. So, I speculate (but I think there's valid reason to make such speculation) that the reason that the mandate was not renewed was really to avoid having somebody like myself, and certainly myself, if I were to be renewed, insisting on going into the prison facilities and talking to the people, which would in this case have included those transferred from Guantanamo. So it was a chance that I think the U.S. didn't want to take.

Billions more needed to take care of Iraq veterans, but Republicans say no. It makes sense. Once they're wounded, they're no longer useful, so they might as well be discarded: Vets bringing Iraq war bill home, unpaid.

Why now? Flag-draped coffin photos released: Pentagon had resisted showing images of casualties.

In the most powerful military in the history of the world: Commander says training insufficient for duty in Iraq.

Now, appealing to nationalists: Chalabi unlikely to pursue previous goal of pulling Iraq out of OPEC.

Complaints start over new government: Parliament Approves Cabinet: Interior Ministry goes to Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Tariq al-Hashimi of the Iraqi Islamic Party complained that the new cabinet did not represent Iraq and would not bring national reconciliation. (- Ash-Sharq al-Awsat). He said that none of the persons suggested for cabinet posts by the IIP had been chosen, and blasted the current cabinet line-up as "racist."

Life 'worse' for Iraqi women.

he elections in January that the White House welcomed as the start of an era of democracy in the Middle East have helped to entrench the strictures imposed on women. The winning coalition has close ties to conservative clerics, many of whom believe in the subservient role of women....
But Songol Chapuk, the head of the Iraqi Coalition for Women, said the religious parties ensured that only women with conservative values were selected as legislators. "It is telling that when we marked International Women's Day last month not a single female [legislator] turned up for the commemorations." Mrs. Chapuk refuses to wear the hijab and even has worn trousers, which brought numerous threats from radicals. Women with similar views have been killed.

Nonproliferation front and center: Rumsfeld says study of earth penetrating nukes makes "all the sense in the world".

Convicted felon put in charge of Iraq's oil industry. Crooks, ready, set, go! Concerns over Iraq oil minister.

"You are to some extent, from the perceptions of many Iraqis, putting a fox in charge of the henhouse," said Anthony Cordesman, referring to Mr Chalabi.

After three months: Iraq parliament approves partial cabinet.

Leaders in Iraq Attempt to Engage Insurgents.

America's image in Italy darkens on death in Iraq.

Decline in yet another indicator: Iraq’s children die of curable kala azar.

Cabinet at last: New Cabinet.

Amnesty blasts Abu Ghraib failure. And: Amnesty International says: One year after Abu Ghraib, torture continues.

AI continues to receive reports of ill-treatment of Iraqis during house raids and arrests by US and Iraqi security forces....
In another development, a national television channel, Al-Iraqiya, has been broadcasting "confessions" by alleged "terrorists". AI is particularly concerned about such "confessions" as detainees are invariably held incommunicado. People who have watched the shows say the detainees show signs of torture, including bruises and swollen faces.

Abu Ghraib prisoner seeks justice one year after scandal.

From Democracy Now! Giuliana Sgrena Blasts U.S. Cover Up, Calls for U.S. and Italy to Leave Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you get permission, did Calipari get permission to drive on the road to the airport?
GIULIANA SGRENA: Of course, I was there when they called. They called the Italian, because there is an official that is linked to the Americans. And this Italian general spoke to the Captain Green, that is the American one, telling him that we were on this road and that they were aware that we were on that road. And this happened at least 20-25 minutes before the shooting....
GIULIANA SGRENA: The Italians, they can’t speak to the Americans directly. There is a man, a special man, a general that is in charge for the communication with the American commanders. It’s impossible for an agent, an Italian agent, to speak with the Americans directly. I knew the rules because I was there many times. And I know that every time always in Iraq there is an Italian that is in charge for the communication with the Americans.

Trouble for US. The Italian investigation system is harder for politicians to manipulate than that in the US Italy Opens Its Own Probe of Agent's Slaying in Iraq.

Italian officials said Rome prosecutors were looking for evidence of homicide in the case of Nicola Calipari, who was transporting a rescued Italian hostage to the Baghdad airport when U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car.... The prosecutors have demanded the names of the soldiers who were involved, but the Pentagon has denied the request, Italian officials said....
"It looks as if the love affair is over between Bush and Berlusconi," an Italian Foreign Ministry official said. "Berlusconi needed help, and the administration did not supply it. The Americans were not going to sacrifice the morale of their soldiers for Berlusconi." Shortly after the shooting, Berlusconi announced that he would begin to withdraw Italy's troops from Iraq in September.

Ah, freedom! Authorities asked to be more discerning after five journalists arrested in two weeks in Iraq.

Iraq debacle good for Australian medicine: AMA hits out at recruitment of doctors from Iraq, Afghanistan.

At last the lies unravel! the British Attorney General's prewar advice to Tony Blair kept secret for over two years: Full text: summary of attorney general's legal advice on March 7 2003. Compare this with the "advice" released to Parliament and the public 10 days later: A case for war: Lord Goldsmith's published advice on the legal basis for the use of force against Iraq. Article by Richard Norton-Taylor: Revealed: the government's secret legal advice on Iraq war. Simon Jeffery explains: Lord Goldsmith's legal advice and the Iraq war . Hans Blix undercuts the argument that there were major violations of inspection agreements: Blix: they should have listened: Inspector says he showed there was little evidence . The political fallout begins: Blair accused of 'gross deception' as Goldsmith's advice is published. And families of British soldiers killed in Iraq prepare for court: Families prepare Iraq war indictment.

One wonders if the US deliberately made a total mess of all contracts to guarantee the Iraqi government could not function by itself: Contract Quagmire in Iraq.

Exactly how was life supposed to improve from US occupation? Doctors warn of increasing deformities in newborn babies.

The type of deformities found in newborn babies are characterised by multiple fingers, unusually large heads, unilateral lips or no arms or legs.

[Some] Government torturers may get the axe, over US objections: End of road for Iraq’s shock troops.

At last the Italians will be allowed to examine the bullet-riddled car: Iraq death car arrives in Italy.

A new report by David L. Phillips of the Council on Foreign Relations argues for a federal Iraq: Report suggests Iraq split into federal states. Full Report: Power-Sharing in Iraq [pdf]

Born to the wrong parents, these untrained troops are expendable: Unready for combat: After deaths of 13 trained for support roles in Iraq, others say they lack the skills to protect themselves.

At least 3,000 Navy and Air Force personnel such as Peters -- trained mainly in noncombat specialties such as mechanics and construction -- are serving on the front lines of the Iraqi insurgency.... Most of them have received only crash courses in basic combat, in some cases after they've arrived in the Middle East and then been stationed near the front lines because of shortages of troops in the Army and Marine Corps. Though technically defined as support units, their jobs -- guarding convoys and oil facilities, or defusing bombs under fire -- bear little resemblance to traditional ''noncombat" duty in the safety of a base.

According to: Human Rights First, One Year After the Abu Ghraib Torture Photos: U.S. Government Response 'Grossly Inadequate'.

Crooks just fine: US buys weapons from indicted company.

Still fiddling: Political Stalemate Continues. And: Pressure Piles on Iraq to Name Cabinet.

Middle East arms war to heat up: U.S. may sell bunker busters to Israel: Proposed deal raises concerns about Israeli strike on Iran.

Marine left "death card": Marines Testify in Iraq Murder Hearing.

Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail: This is our Guernica: Ruined, cordoned Falluja is emerging as the decade's monument to brutality.

Human Rights Watch says: Abu Ghraib Only the “Tip of the Iceberg”.

Lists, but is their agreement? Iraqi PM draws up govt list, feuds drag on. That articles appears to contradict the claim: Sunni set to win defence post in Iraq.

Which decade is the US planning on leaving? Digging In. "If the U.S. government doesn't plan to occupy Iraq for any longer than necessary, why is it spending billions of dollars to build "enduring" bases?"

ver the past year, the Pentagon has reportedly been building up to 14 "enduring" bases across the country—long-term encampments that could house as many as 100,000 troops indefinitely.

After years of lies: US study: 'Unlikely' Iraq shipped WMD to Syria.

After the October [2004 Iraq Survey Group] report, Vice President Dick Cheney and other U.S. officials said they still believed Iraq possessed WMD material prior to the invasion and had moved it across its border into Syria, where it may have been transferred to terrorists.

When will US pull out of Iraq? Last Syrian troops leave Lebanon.

Terrorist attacks rise 371% in one year (from 2003 to 2004) after Iraq invasion and occupation stoked the flames. This is an increase from the 20-year high experienced in 2003. Good job, George! Withheld Data Shows 'Dramatic Up-tick' in Terrorist Attacks.

In other countries, the usual US cover-up is not acceptable: Italian Journalist Challenges U.S. Report Clearing Soldiers in Iraq Shooting . And: Italians slam U.S. shooting report.

US ally: Saudi Arabia detains 40 Christians for holding prayers in a house.

Puppet-master comes out from behind the screen in support of US-controlled "democracy": Bad News in Iraq Pushing US.

The longest running saga: Sunnis Drop Demand for Iraq's New Cabinet. Meanwhile: Iraqis losing confidence in political process.

The whitewash for murder, again: US troops cleared over shooting. Italians refuse to sign-off on US whitewash: Italy and U.S. 'Disagree over Agent Death Findings'.

The mystery continues: Mystery of Iraq's alleged oasis of death.

War is still hell: Past horrors haunt veterans: Healing is difficult as stories of trauma remain constant throughout history of combat.

At their essence, the stories of trauma do not vary much from war to war. "I find no difference whatsoever from World War II veterans to Iraq war veterans," he said. "I hear the same types of things. These are memories that haunt them and they're seeking relief from those painful memories."

Some good news: Campus enrollment falls in Army ROTC.

Nationwide enrollment in the Army's Reserve Officers' Training Corps has slipped more than 16 percent over two school years.... Some ROTC programs, such as the one at the University of New Hampshire, have seen more than 80 percent of their graduates fight in Afghanistan or Iraq over the past few years.

Costa at home: Governors worry National Guard spread too thin at home.

Juan Cole indicates that Iraqi ministers need Washington approval. That's why they had an election, to decide which puppet will take Washington's orders: Jaafari Decides to Exclude Allawi.

Another day, another delay: New Iraq govt delayed. Now it's maybe Tuesday. Or maybe not...

In the continuing war of all sides against the press: Iraqi Police Arrest Reuters Cameraman. And: AP Photographer Freed From U.S. Custody. Remember. Friday: AP cameraman killed and a photographer wounded.

Another sign of the massive cover-up: UN investigator who exposed US army abuse forced out of his job. No doubt, they'll launch another of those myriad Pentagon "investigations">

Latest claim: MPs Say Deal Set on Iraqi Govt.; Allawi Excluded.

At Guantanamo Concentration Camp: US guards at Guantanamo tortured me, says UK man.

A British resident has claimed he was tortured by US guards at Guantanamo Bay, suffering violent sexual assaults, near drowning and an attack in which he was blinded. The Independent on Sunday has been given a detailed account from Omar Deghayes of repeated abuse by American and Pakistani interrogators over the past three years including electric shocks and sodomy by US guards....
Members of the US "extreme reaction force" at Guantanamo Bay blinded him in his already weak right eye with Mace riot control gas and by gouging it with a finger;
At Bagram airbase, Afghanistan, US guards allegedly sodomised five detainees, and forced petrol and benzene into the anuses of others.

Patrick Cockburn: Terrified US soldiers are still killing civilians with impunity, while the dead go uncounted.

Every Iraqi has stories of friends or relatives killed by US troops for no adequate reason. Often they do not know if they were shot by regular soldiers or by members of western security companies whose burly employees, usually ex-soldiers, are everywhere in Iraq. [If true, the 100,000 figure for civilians killed hardly seems exaggerated.]

The wrangling goes on: Iraq talks falter over cabinet demands. And Ayad Allawi says:: 'The prize is enormous - we must not let it slip'. However: Allawi list refuses to join Iraq cabinet without five posts. I guess five posts when you've been repudiated by the voters is an enormous prize.

No surprise here: Rights Groups Reject Prison Abuse Findings. At the same time, Human Rights Watch has issued a report calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the culpability of Donald Rumsfeld and George Tenet for torture: Investigate Rumsfeld, Tenet for Torture. They have also issued a new report: Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees [ pdf version]. Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch fails to go to the top. We know we have a President who supports the use of torture. He promoted those who carried out his policies. All others are carrying out his commands. Any investigation that does not investigate George Bush and Alberto Gonzalez, among others, seems rather silly.

Despite this evidence, Human Rights Watch said, the United States has deliberately shielded the architects of illegal detention policies through the refusal to allow an independent inquiry of prisoner abuse and the failure to undertake criminal investigations against those leaders who allowed the widespread criminal abuse of detainees to develop and persist. Rather, the Department of Defense has established a plethora of investigations, all but one in-house, looking down the chain of command. Prosecutions have commenced only against low-level soldiers and contractors.

Money for the taking. No qualifications needed: U.S. Monitors Fault British Security Company With Iraq Contract.

AP cameraman killed in Iraq attacks.

Will ther be any agreement? How will they possibly agree on a Constitution? Kurds' Leaders Said to Attempt to Block Shiite.

They're on the march! Juan Cole on: The new McCarthyism at Columbia University and in the New York Times.

The New York Times editorial is among the more dangerous documents threatening higher education in America to have appeared in a major newspaper since the McCarthy period, when professors were fired for their views on economics....
Nothing pleases teachers more than to see students craft their own, original arguments, based on solid evidence, that dispute the point of view presented in class lectures. That is why the New York Times editorial is so wrong, and so dangerous. University teaching is not about fairness, and there is no body capable of imposing "fair" views on teachers. It is about provoking students to think analytically and synthetically, and to reason on their own. In the assigned texts, in class discussion, and in lectures, the students are exposed to a wide range of views, whether fair or unfair.

Total costs now over $300 Billion. Is that real money yet? Senate OKs $81B for Iraq, Afghanistan. Here's where the money goes: Double Trouble for Halliburton.

Life may be changing as a new era [of wars] opens up: The end of oil is closer than you think: Oil production could peak next yea.

No government today: Iraq Govt Seen Delayed; Violence Hits Baghdad.

Pepe Escobar gives an invaluable overview of what's going on under the surface: The shadow Iraqi government.

There may be no funds for rebuilding American-bombed Iraqi infrastructure, but US$4.5 billion promptly found its way to Halliburton's subsidiary KBR for the construction and maintenance of the 14 "enduring camps" or permanent military bases. The most notorious of these may be Camp Victory North, a sprawling complex attached to Baghdad (former Saddam) International Airport. Camp Victory is a KBR-built, bungalow-with-air-con American city for 14,000, complete with Burger King and gym. When finished, it will be twice the size of giant Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, the base attached to surveillance of oil pipelines in the Balkans....
here's ongoing, serious, widespread speculation in Iraq that the SCIRI may have made a deal with Washington: we get political power, you get control of our oil industry.

Another thoughtful interview with Riverbend, this one by Lakshmi Chaudhry: The Girl Blogger from Iraq. And excerpts from her new book: Baghdad Burning.

11 weeks after the election: Iraq May Name Government on Thursday.

No apology because, as in every other incident involving US troops, the foolish Iraqis were to blame, you see: US military regrets incident with Iraq lawmaker.

An interview with Les Roberts, lead researcher on the October 2004 Lancet study estimating Iraqi civilian deaths at 100,000: Counting the dead in Iraq.

A critical view of the new PM: Who Is Iraq’s New Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari?

The formation of Daawa in 1958 was the response of the Shiite clergy to the growth of socialist and secular conceptions among the Iraqi working class. By the late 1950s, the Stalinist Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), despite its counterrevolutionary program, had become a major political force among the Iraqi masses. Large numbers of workers and peasants viewed the Stalinists as the vehicle for social progress. One of the social layers where socialist ideas had taken root was the largely Shiite urban poor in cities such as Baghdad and Basra, among whom the authority of the clergy had diminished considerably.
The economic and social position of the Shiite clergy depends upon the flow of tribute into the mosques from a compliant population and also a degree of theocratic influence over commercial activity. The stated aim of Daawa—to combat “atheism”—flowed from these material interests. Daawa’s perspective was to destroy the workers’ movement. From its inception, in other words, the party was hostile to the struggles of Iraqis for an end to colonial and semi-feudal oppression.

Hell remains hell: Slow Progress in Battered Falluja.

IWPR noted few signs of reconstruction on its April 13 visit.... [M]any aid organisations, such as the Iraqi Red Crescent, IRC, are finding it difficult to help Falluja residents because of restrictions on entering the city. “We are afraid that epidemics and disease will spread this summer due to the lack of drinking water and drainage equipment,” said IRC aid worker Ferdos al-Abadi.

Why fix it when we can steal it: Corruption Draining Oil Industry.

Don't leave us out: Religious and ethnic minorities want rights enshrined in new constitution.

"Promises of participating in the new government were given from the bigger parties like the Shi'ite Iraqi Alliance, but nothing has been done so far and we are afraid that we will lose our rights when they write the constitution," a member of the Mandaean Democracy Congregation (MDC).

Good riddance to scum, he hopes: Anti-War Protester Takes on Blair on his Own Turf.

No blank check: Muslims Quiz British Candidates Before Polls.

The traditional Muslim support for Labour slumped from 75 percent at the last general election to only 38 percent now due to the Iraq war, which has also tarnished the image of Prime Minister Tony Blair in the eyes of the Muslim community, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. There are currently two Muslim MPs in Britain, both representing the ruling Labour Party and there are also Muslims elected to city councils.

Slap on wrist for Bush: Senate signals problems with Iraq funding.

A careful analysis of the US military's own explanation of the killing of Nicola Calipari shows that, even if the US story was true, the soldiers opened fire before they could possibly tell if the car had slowed down in response to their alleged warning shots: A Math Lesson: The Killing of Nicola Calipari.

Of course they lie: Aid worker uncovered America's secret tally of Iraqi civilian deaths.

There is a limit: Deputies demand US apology for mistreatment of MP.

A Sunni MP, Mudhar Shawkat, handed in the green VIP badge issued by the US military authorising him and other deputies to enter the Green Zone and said he would only attend parliament if sessions were moved to another location. “They should be put on notice and given two months — no more — to leave the Green Zone,” he said before walking out. Another unidentified MP shouted: “Yes, the end of occupation begins here. The Green Zone must be liberated from occupation!” Speaker Hajem Al Hassani said he would suspend sessions altogether unless they move within a week to a building on the fringes of the Green Zone that has its own entrance and would be guarded by Iraqi soldiers. “Enough is enough!” he said before adjourning parliament until Sunday.

War of terrorists. Bolton, like many other policy-makers, are enamored of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq: Laying the Groundwork for War With Iran.

What opponents of the Iranian regime like about the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) is its terrorism. According to the State Department, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian Embassies and installations in 13 countries in April 1992, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas....
"I don't believe they should belong on the terrorist list," says Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, who is one of the group's biggest supporters in Congress. "I believe a new look should be placed upon them and we'll see that they are not anti-U.S...."
"In the middle 1980s, they made an alliance with Saddam Hussein," notes Shaul Bakhash, who teaches Middle Eastern studies at George Mason University. Saddam "gave them a home and financial material support, and there are credible charges that Saddam Hussein used them against the Kurds in his own campaigns." Bakhash says the MEK is universally despised inside Iran because the group fought alongside Saddam Hussein's army during the Iran-Iraq war.

The War on Terrorism leads to greater danger: World terror risk 'on the rise'. As a result: Rice Erases Terror Scoreboard.

[R]ather than admit that the number of terrorist incidents may be three times higher this year than last, Rice decided to erase the scoreboard.

Forces of death, and of life, fight it out: Campus battlegrounds: Desperate military recruiters and a growing opposition square off in local schools.

Cooperate and collude or resist and be left behind: Iraq's Sunni Arabs face dilemma.

Parliament meets, but no one else can get around: Security measures preventing school and work attendance.

Two years after invasion: Why a black market for gasoline vexes Iraq.

Back to the future: Ethnic, political ties seen as key to jobs in Iraqi government.

Health Officials Fear Outbreak of Hepatitis in Iraq.

We'll show you who's boss! Iraqi Lawmaker Says U.S. Soldier Grabbed His Throat.

"I don't speak English and so I said to the Iraqi translator with them, 'Tell them that I am a member of parliament,' and he replied, 'To hell with you, we are Americans,"' Sheikh told parliament, fighting back tears as he recounted the story.

More Shia pressure to withdraw foreign troops: Badr: Foreign Troops Unneeded.

Torture tactics wish lists: Soldiers' 'Wish Lists' Of Detainee Tactics Cited What will they think of next? Hit lists? Oh, they've already got those.

A: Visual Tribute to Marla Ruzicka of the Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict (CIVIC. More reaction to her death: David Corn: One (Especially) Sad Death in Iraq. And Patrick Cockburn & Andrew Buncombe: The senseless death of the woman who fought George Bush. Kevin Danaher & Medea Benjamin Remembering a Friend Killed in Iraq, Marla Ruzicka.

Insurgents butcher their share of journalists: Five journalists killed in past four days.

Two Al-Hurriya television journalists were killed in suicide bombings while on their way to an assignment in Baghdad on April 14th. Producer Fadhil Hazim and cameraman Ali Ibrahim Isa were killed en route to an event honouring the new president, Jalal Talabani. They were in a car when the bombs exploded outside the Interior Ministry. Two other Al-Hurriya employees in the car, Shakir Awad and Mohammed Ibrahim, were injured.... The day after this attack, the IFJ affiliate in the region, the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, reported the killing of another two television journalists, Shadman Abdulla, working for Kirkuk TV, and Laiq Abdulla, from Kurdistan Satellite TV (KTV). The Syndicate also reported that at the weekend another journalist, Ahmed al-U'badi, working for al-Sabah newspaper, was beheaded in Baghdad, apparently by a group known as al-Jihad and al-Tawhit.

Riverbend on the hostage charade [See Resistance]: The Hostage Crisis...

Medain is a town of Sunnis and Shia who have lived together peacefully for as long as anyone can remember. The people in the town come from the local "Ashayir" or tribes. It's one of those places where everyone knows everyone else- even if only by name or family name. The tribes who dominate the town are a combination of Sunni and Shia. Any conflicts between the townspeople are more of the tribal or family type than they are religious....
People in Baghdad didn't believe it. Most of them waved a hand dismissing the report and said, "They just want to raid Medain." It's a town that has been giving the Americans quite a bit of trouble this last year, a part of the Sunni Triangle . Many attacks were reported to have come from the area, but at the same time, it's not like Falloojeh, Samarra, or Mosul- it's half Shia. It wouldn't be as easy or politically correct to raid. Yesterday, there were actually Shia demonstrators from the town claiming that the rumors were false and the town was peaceful and there was no need for a raid or for door-to-door checks....
Now, Associated Press is claiming, "The confusion over Madain illustrated how quickly rumors spread in a country of deep ethnic and sectarian divides, where the threat of violence is all too real." Uhm, no. Not really. See, this whole thing didn't start out as a rumor. Rumors come to you through actual people- the guy who brings you kerosene spreads rumors, that neighbor next door brings you rumors, the man you get your rations from spreads rumors. This came to us, very decidedly, from a news source. It first made its debut as breaking news and came from an "Iraqi Shia official who wished to remain unnamed"....
We know a lot of our new officials and spokespeople are blatantly lying and it's fine to lie about security, reconstruction and democracy- we've gotten used to it. In fact, we tell jokes about it and laugh about it at family gatherings or over the telephone. To lie about something as serious as Sunni-Shia hostage taking is another story altogether.... We have an Iraqi government that bans news channels and newspapers because they *insist* on reporting about such routine things as civilian casualties and raids, yet the Puppets barely flinch over media sources spreading a rumor as dangerous and provocative as this one.

Report: U.S. forces abuse and torture female detainees in Iraq.

A sobering view, or an excuse for long-term occupation? In Iraq, Security in Name Only. "The new police force is largely untrained, frequently unreliable, and all too ready to abuse civilians. How can U.S. troops hand over control?" See also: US military training local police in Iraq's north say rough road remains.

Despite Rumsfeld the purge is on: Iraqi Alliance Seeks to Oust Top Officials Of Hussein Era .

The Shiite Muslim bloc leading the new Iraqi government will demand the removal of all top officials left over from the era of former president Saddam Hussein, a top official said.... The Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance also will insist on trials for every former official, soldier or worker suspected of wrongdoing during that time....
Shahristani said the alliance would also seek prosecution of what he said were the few thousand leaders of the Sunni Muslim-led insurgency. For the alliance and the long-persecuted Shiite community it represents, Shahristani said, "justice prevails" over everything else....
The Shiite alliance's plan also runs counter to efforts by other Iraqi politicians who say they hope to defuse the insurgency by drawing the disgruntled Sunni minority, routed from power with Hussein, back into the political process.... But Shahristani said the Shiite-led alliance believes weapons, not appeasement, will end the insurgency....
Wamidh Nadhmi, the leader of the Arab Nationalist Trend and a spokesman for a coalition of Sunni and Shiite groups that had boycotted the elections, said an aggressive purge of Iraq's security forces would end up riddling them with partisan loyalties, a frequent theme in Iraq's history, as parties vied for power. "These people are threatening us with a warlord system that will destroy the country," Nadhmi said....
If Sunni intelligence officials are purged, Shiite hard-liners would be ready to move in intelligence units of Shiite militias including the Badr Brigade, a group formed by Iraqi Shiite leaders when they were in exile in Iran while Hussein was in power.

Jalal Talabani says the Kurdish and Shia militias could whip the rebels. But this option shouldn't be utilized, for now: Iraq militias 'could beat rebels'.

Marla Ruzicka, advocate for civilian victims: Victims' Champion Is Killed in Iraq .

M. Junaid Alam claims that reports of insurgent attacks on civilians are grossly exaggerated: Does the Resistance Target Civilians? According to US Intel, Not Really.

EU plans international conference on Iraq.

What's going on behind the scenes? Yet another wheat row: Iraq claims 'iron dust' in AWB wheat.

Iraq has alleged that a 279,000 tonne shipment, part of a one million tonne order AWB had filled for Iraq, arrived from Australia contaminated with iron dust.... Mr McBride said tests were conducted on the 279,000 tonne shipment before it left Australia. He said further tests were conducted on samples flown to Australia from Iraq and they had come up free of contaminants....
Iraq has questioned the future of its wheat-buying relationship with Australia following reported remarks by an AWB official that a higher price could be extracted from Iraq for wheat as compared to other buyers. AWB, the grower-controlled company with monopoly rights over export wheat sales, has said that prices charged for wheat sales to Iraq reflect the risks involved in shipping to the war-torn country as well as the quality of the grain. Mr Assi also rebutted comments reportedly made by former AWB chairman Trevor Flugge that US exporters were pressuring Iraqi officials to switch to US grain.
Women demand share of Iraqi spoils but differ on what that means.

A reminder of the old regime: Mass Graves a Grim Token of the Old Iraq.

Money for war, but not for clean water: Halabja Decries Broken US Promises.

“Everybody uses Halabja like a card. But when it comes to working in Halabja, nobody does it,” said Ghreeb.

Neocolonial bosses upset with native think for themselves: Iraqi Leaders Flexing Muscles: U.S. officials may have limited influence on the direction of the new government, including its stance toward American troops.

Still not a picnic: War Reporters at ASNE Say Iraq Remains Frightening.

Concentrate on writing an election, not getting the spoils for your party: Sistani Discourages Shiite MPs from joining Cabinet.

More evidence that the US is using a napalm derivative in Iraq: Fire Bombs in Iraq: Napalm By Any Other Name.

'The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.'

The devil speaks. An interview with Ahmed Chalabi: Man of many colours.

Call to release the 17,000 prisoners: Sunni cleric lends support to amnesty: Leader proposes including those now held by US.

Neither down nor out: Rebel al-Sadr's appeal rises; message turns mainstream.

Another delay: No Iraqi government for at least a week.

The main obstacle to completing the cabinet is finding the right Sunni candidates for ministerial positions, Shahrastani said.

Represented but not liberated: Among Iraq's new women legislators, Islamic conservatism runs strong.

She derides ''Western-minded women who came with the occupation, carrying weird ideas and wanting to teach young Iraqis that it's their right to have premarital sex. Iraqis with all their tribal traditions won't accept these women.'' She means women such as Yanar Mohammed, a 44-year-old activist, who likens Muslim women in robes to ''black coffins walking in the streets.'' The robes signal ''the beginning of another era of women's imprisonment,'' she said....
''I am not afraid of men who don't believe in women's rights,'' she said, ''but rather, I'm terrified of women who by their own free will and under the pretext of democracy work against women's rights.''

It's either Turkey or the Kurds: Only Iraq and the PKK. And, in Turkey: 21 Kurdish rebels killed near Iraq border.

Paul Rogers: Washington’s Iraq panic attack.

As usual, it's the ordinary people who suffer the most: Ordinary Iraqis bear brunt of war: Thursday, two car bombs went off in Baghdad. The Monitor looks at a family hit by a bombing 17 months ago.

They seem to have done everything wrong: U.S. Blames Own Contracting Rules for Iraq Reconstruction Failures.

Another journalist killed, this time by unkown men in a car: Journalist shot dead in Iraq.

Action Alert! Danny Schechter calls on people world-wide to protest the US cover-up of the murder of Italian agent Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Giuliana Sgrena. Why has the US denied Italian investigators access to the car? Only an independent investigation will have any credibility: Protest the Cover-Up of the Shooting of Giuliana Sgrena.

A Buzzflash Interview With Riverbend.

Why will the US not let the Italians examine the car? Could it be because, as Sgrena has claimed, they were shot from behind? Italy in row with US over shot spy.

Iraqis who worked for US and thus fear for their lives are dropped: Iraqis in mortal fear can't get into US.

Refugee aid workers and U.S. and U.N. officials said the United States had turned away Iraqi refugees because it was trying instead to create a democratic society from which no one had to flee, and was sacrificing plenty of American lives in the process. To succeed, it needs the talents of the very people who want to leave. "The whole purpose of being here is to create an environment of stability and security so that's not an issue," said Joanne Cummings, refugee coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Aaron Glantz: Billions More for Military Contractors and Permanent Bases.

Another of those "things are improving, somewhat" stories: Gains in Iraq, but no 'tipping point'.

Of the 150,000 total, some 85,000 are Ministry of Interior police, not military forces, notes Mr. Cordesman. Some 30,000 of these may actually still be awaiting training. About 67,000 of the Iraqi troops are indeed military. But most of these are lightly equipped and trained to accomplish only limited missions. Only one operational battalion has anything like the heavy armor used by US forces. "If one is counting manpower with some comparability to US forces the total is ... probably well below 20,000," Cordesman concludes.

The new division across Iraq: those inside versus those outside the forts: Baghdad's Blast Walls Protect, Annoy.

According to the United Nations special envoy to Iraq: Iraqis 'suffer a lack of rights'.

They steal the dough, then do shoddy work. Sounds like Cheney's company all right: Halliburton Unit's Work in Iraq Is Called 'Poor'.

Afghanistan to become permanent protectorate: Karzai wants long-term security ties with US.

An interview: Naomi Klein on Iraq, the movement and living without fear.

Americans instill terror: Man's Claims May Be a Look at Dark Side of War on Terror.

Support Our Troops? An amazing story! National Guardsmen involuntarily sent to Iraq were laid off from there jobs back home, in the National Guard. Now unemployed, they are considering enlisting, just to get a decent job: Fla. National Guardsmen lose government jobs while serving in Iraq.

"It is horrible to go and fight for your country, and then get treated like this," said Wells, 34, a Miamian who collects disability pay while studying to become an automotive technician. "I'm almost thankful I got hurt, or I'd be in a worse situation."

Resistance grows in Britain: Big rise in deserters 'fuelled by Iraq war'.

Publicity stunt doesn't pay off: On surprise trip to Iraq, Rice deputy greeted by complaints of little progress in Fallujah.

Originally scheduled to tour a water pumping station and a bread shop, Zoellick, the top deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was confined to a caravan of armored transport vehicles except for a meeting with civic leaders at a fortified military compound. Marines said the security situation in Fallujah remained tenuous, although daily attacks were down.

Why bother, it's money wasted anyway: Pentagon's war spending hard to track.

Engineered Support gets Iraq telecom contract.

These guys can't do anything right: Report slams US defense supply chain failures in Iraq. See also: GAO faults Army for Humvee shortage.

Trials of former leaders make a joke of fairness and justice: Dim Prospects for Justice in Iraq.

Although U.S. officials claimed that it would be an "Iraqi-led" process," it was they who took charge of drafting the tribunal's statute. And when in the summer and fall of 2003, for example, Human Rights Watch asked permission to review and comment on the tribunal's draft statute, the U.S. authorities denied its requests.

Can they finally be serious? Israel, Iran, and nuclear weapons programs: As Sharon renews warnings to Bush about Iran's nuclear program, the US may be ready to turn up the heat on Israel's nukes.

It's out! Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq. The book by Riverbend.

60 Minutes Wednesday will interview Giuliana Sgrena: Italian Journalist: U.S. Lied.

The Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (AHL) and the International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project (IED/HLP) have submitted a complaint against the United States to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States for attacking hospitals and clinics in Fallujah, Iraq, filed as Petition No. P-1258-04, United States. They are seeking Donations to Support the Case. See also their two Briefing Papers submitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights: Sexualized Violence Against Iraqi Women by US Occupying Forces. And: Deteriorating Political and Economic Crisis of Women in Iraq Under US Occupying Forces

Now that there are mass nonviolent protests, will anyone listen? Or, will the lack of American casualties mean the will of Iraqis will be ignored? In Iraq, increasing calls for American troops to leave.

But the protests reflect a growing impatience with American troops, viewed here both as protectors and antagonizers. Insurgents fueling the conflict direct their rage at U.S. troops and Iraqis seen as cooperating with them. That, in part, has delayed any talk of a pullout, with U.S. leaders saying they will only leave when the Iraqi government asks them to go.
On Sunday, protesters shouted anti-American slogans in Duluiyah, 45 miles north of the capital. A day later, a similar demonstration was held in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. On Tuesday, in the troubled city of Samarra, tribal, city and religious leaders gathered along with students in the shadow of a spiral minaret, throwing rocks at U.S. tanks and shouting for the Americans to leave. ''The Iraqis will fight until they force (the Americans) to leave and let us live in peace and security,'' Hassan Neama, 33, said Tuesday in Baghdad. ''They are the source of all of Iraq's problems. We consider the Americans our enemy, not our savior from the Saddam Hussein regime.''

A renegade who won't back down: Muqtada al-Sadr is 'showing his strength on the streets' of Iraq.

The cold-blooded murder and CIA asset is pouting: Absent Allawi May Be Biding His Time.

Tension between the United Iraqi Alliance and Allawi grew last week when several assembly members publicly called for investigations into allegations of corruption and misconduct by the interim government. The lawmakers were particularly upset by claims that government ministries had hired thousands of former Baath Party members. "We will form a committee to investigate all of the ministries of the Iyad Allawi government — every one of them," said Sheik Jalaluddin Saghir, a Shiite cleric and assembly member. [Was Rumsfeld's visit today in response?]

The difficulties facing the government: In Iraq, a push for political momentum.

US ally demonstrates proper technique for beheading: House of Saud re-embraces totalitarianism.

Rumsfeld warns the new Iraqi government to keep those appointed by ex-CIA asset Allawi, during a visit to tell the new "rulers" of the colony how to behave: Rumsfeld warns Iraq against purges.

Rumsfeld said he was particularly worried about purges of Iraq's defence and interior ministries, which are at the heart of the country's security apparatus and central to efforts to put Iraqi troops at the front of the battle against insurgents.

Democrats likely to back terrorism supporter for intelligence chief: Democrats seek assurances from Negroponte. For his terrorist involvement see: Papers Illustrate Negroponte's Contra Role: Newly Released Documents Show Intelligence Nominee Was Active in U.S. Effort.

Covering resistance a punishable offense in occupied Iraq: Cover the Insurgents, Go to Prison (or Worse).

So why was Wael Issam arrested? It seems that, like the CBS cameraman, he had been covering the resistance. Arabiya's assignment editor Najib Ben-Shahab said that before his arrest, Issam had been working on a documentary on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where resistance to the occupation is strong and U.S. military assaults have killed hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians. "Wael went to Fallujah many times, and he filmed a lot of stuff there," said Najib Ben-Shahab. "He had so much footage of armed groups and the so-called resistance, and he was bringing the material to Dubai to make a short documentary or a piece about Fallujah and the armed groups there...."
Eight journalists have been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq since the occupation began. No American soldier has ever been punished.

US says no amnesty for killing Imperial troops: US opposes excuse for Iraqis who kill American soldiers.

Claim by the British Daily Mirror: Americans in Iraq till 2009.

No government yet: Despite breakthrough Iraq gov't delayed.

A hundred million here, a hundred million there, and pretty soon it's real money: U.S. Audit Probes $212 Mln in Halliburton Iraq Work.

At last, a mass, nonviolent, campaign against occupation: Sadr loyalists plan campaign to oust US.

Followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia preacher, said on Sunday that they would follow up a big demonstration in Baghdad with a non-violent campaign to oust US and other foreign forces from Iraq.

Sunni cleric's AMS says no to cooperation with government under occupation: AMS refuses role in Iraqi politics.

"President Bush himself has said that Syrian troops must withdraw from Lebanon before the Lebanese elections, and said there is no point for elections in Lebanon while foreign troops exist on its national soil. Why does that not apply to Iraq?"

Hassan Juma'a Awad interviewed by David Bacon: Iraq's Oilworkers Will Defend the Country's Oil.

Patrick Cockburn reports on the splits between resistance forces: Stop killing Iraqis, nationalists warn religious fanatics.

Pictures of Saturday's demonstration and here: Massive "End the Occupation" Protest in Baghdad Dwarfs the "Saddam Toppled" rally: Photos.

Riverbend on Saturday's demonstartions: The Cruel Month...

BBC and EuroNews were busily covering the wedding between Prince Charles and the dreadful Camilla. CNN was showing the Pope's funeral. No one bothered with the demonstrations in Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar and the south. There were hundreds of thousands of Shia screaming "No to America. No to terrorism. No to occupation. No to the devil. No to Israel." The numbers were amazing and a little bit frightening too.

Maybe they'll just lock up the entire population outside the Green Zone: 17,000 locked up in Iraq.

Now it's Allawi's turn: Iraq's Allawi agrees his bloc will join govt.

No quick exit: Iraq's Talabani Says U.S. Forces Needed for Two More Years.

As the Middle East destabilizes: Former Mossad head: There is a danger of a coup in Israel.

To call the Guantanamo military commissions "kangaroo courts" is a vicious slander of kangaroos: Records Give Voice to Guantanamo Detainees.

A U.S. college-educated detainee asks plaintively in one: "Is it possible to see the evidence in order to refute it?" In another transcript, the unidentified president of a U.S. military tribunal bursts out: "I don't care about international law. I don't want to hear the words 'international law' again. We are not concerned with international law...."
The tribunal found Abbasi to have been "deeply involved" in the al-Qaida terror network. Yet four months later, the government released him, saying his home country of Britain would keep an eye on him....
In the filings, some detainees seemed stunned by the speed of the process. "How long will it take before you decide the results of this tribunal?" one asked. "We should have a decision today," the tribunal president replied.

Anti-occupation demonstration in Baghdad yesterday may have involved as many 300,000! Livid Iraq Protesters Tell U.S. to Get Out: Tens of thousands mass peacefully in the square where Hussein's statue was toppled two years ago. They also heap scorn on the ex-dictator. As Juan Cole points out: "If it were even half that, these would be the largest popular demonstrations in Iraq since 1958!"

[Livid:] "This is the first manifestation of freedom in Iraq," said Lt. Ali Muhsin of the Iraqi national guard, raising his voice to be heard over the din. "We have never witnessed such a thing before. In the old days, people would only have been able to do this if they were hailing Saddam. Now they are protesting for their rights...."
"The American people need to know that they can't suppress us anymore, even with all their strength and power," said Mohammed Salih Khalaf, a 54-year-old day laborer from Sadr City
[Cole:] Al-Hayat reports that Muqtada urged his followers not to bear arms and were not to reply with gunfire if they were shot at by the Americans, saying that God would be responsible for defeating the Occupiers...."
The demonstration's magnitude appears to have convinced prime minister designate, Ibrahim Jaafari of the Dawa Party, to begin speaking once again of a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Reconstruction? who's to blame: Projects in Iraq to Be Reevaluated: State Department faults use of U.S. firms for the reconstruction effort and announces it will shift some money to job creation for locals. And: Millions Said Going to Waste in Iraq Utilities A coalition memo says water, sewage and power facilities rebuilt with U.S. funds are falling into disrepair. Iraqis say they need more money.

[Millions:] Bechtel has so far turned over 20 water treatment plants and 24 sewage treatment plants to the Iraqis for operation. None of them is running properly. Oviatt said that the water plants were "working after a fashion" but that most of the sewage plants were not treating waste.

Mass protests against the occupation and for a quicker trial of Saddam: Protests on anniversary of Saddam's fall. See also: 2 Iraqi clerics, usually rivals, call for anti-U.S. protests.

Those who will suffer the consequences for years: Brain trauma growing problem among veterans. We still await articles on the PTSD problem among Iraqis.

The US military's lack of language skills gets urgent attention. After 21 months they produce a 19 page plan to do something or other about the problem: How Many Government Agencies Does It Take To Teach Soldiers Arabic?

Now, three and a half years after Islamic fundamentalists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Department of Defense is three months away from publishing an official "instruction" providing "guidance for language program management."

We will not live like this! A slow rebirth for Baghdad the beautiful .

Some progress, but: Economy still stalled across Iraq. See also: Iraq's economic catastrophe.

Mark Danner: Iraq: The Real Election.

Shut down all information? CBS stringer arrested in Iraq: U.S. military suspects cameraman of being an insurgent.

The BBC reports debate regarding the consequences for Iraq of the US-imposed Transitional Administrative Law (TAL): Iraqi Compromise Fuels Angry Debate.

Matthew Harwood in Washington Monthly presents an interesting if biased [because it ignores unions rival to the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions] account of the US campaign against Iraqi unions: Pinkertons at the CPA. "Iraq's resurgent labor unions could have helped rebuild the country's civil society. The Bush administration of course tried to crush them."

Must Read! Definitely not out: An Old U.S. Foe Rises Again in Iraq: Shiite Mahdi Army Growing Bolder in South.

Beyond Baghdad, though, Iraqis see a new boldness in the militia in cities like Nasiriyah, Basra and Amarah, all south of the capital and all patrolled by foreign forces allied with the United States. In Basra, the Mahdi Army is widely viewed as the force that can put more armed men in the street than any other. Amarah remains its stronghold. In Nasiriyah, it has struck an alliance with the secular police chief, who views the group as a counterweight to other militias. "The silent majority is not with him, but the majority of active people are," said Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi Mudarrassi, a cleric in Karbala, referring to Sadr. "If you count the ballot boxes, the balance is with the moderates. If you count those in the streets, it's the opposite...."
In the mosque, and the markets that spring up around it each Friday, what has changed during the past year is the emphasis of the appeal the movement makes to the poor and young. Gone is the celebration of Sadr's father, a revered cleric assassinated in 1999. In its stead is the cult built around his son and a glorification of arms. In posters spread out on plastic mats, Moqtada Sadr's image hovered over portraits of Mahdi Army militiamen waving rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and rocket launchers. "Victorious by force and faith, God willing," one read.

His first major act: Talabani Offers Amnesty to Insurgents.

The new boss: Washington's Neocon in Baghdad? Zalmay Khalilzad Nominated as U.S. Ambassador. And: Khalilzad leaves controversial legacy in Afghanistan.

[Khalilzad leaves controversial legacy:] US ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was more like a ruler than a humble envoy as he guided the war-shattered country on the road to democracy after the fall of the Taliban, analysts said. Dubbed the ‘viceroy’ by locals - the term used for India’s British colonial leaders - the Afghan-born diplomat was seen as the power behind President Hamid Karzai and won praise for keeping Afghanistan atop Washington’s agenda.

Arabiya reporter detained in Iraq - media watchdog.

The Spoils! U.S. Growers Again Sell Rice to Iraq.

Gaffe bad omen: Ceremonial gaffe mars appointment of Iraqi Prime Minister.

Democracy Now! talks to Dilip Hiro about: Iraq's New President Jalal Talabani: Ally of CIA, Iranian Intelligence and Saddam Hussein.

Neoconservative nightmare: US legal legacy for Iraqi economy.

Three discussions of the future. Aaron Glantz: Iraq squares up to US military. Pepe Escobar: What's behind the new Iraq. Dan Murphy and Jill Carroll: Thorny issues loom for Iraq leaders: In the short term, the risk is a failure to govern while focusing on big constitutional issues.

[Iraq squares:] One of the first orders of business for the new Iraqi government ... will be to strike a deal with the United States military over the terms and conditions of its 150,000-troop-strong presence in the country....
Chris Toensing of the Washington-based Middle East Research and Information Project says the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance, which won the most votes in January's election, has already abandoned its election promise to demand a timeline for US withdrawal. "Right now, the United States is the protector of the United Iraqi Alliance," Toensing said, noting that the US military had promised to protect whatever government was elected. ...
Toensing expects the US military to become tightly linked to both the armed wings of Shi'ite religious parties and Kurdish peshmerga (Paramilitary) under the new government, since both support large-scale crackdowns on the largely Sunni insurgency, taking more prisoners and secretly locking them up in prisons like Abu Ghraib with minimal oversight.

Jo Wilding reminds us that thoughts of Iraqi sovereignty, as in other poor countries, are a pipe dream: The “Right Message” About Democracy in Iraq.

Finally the new assembly has a speaker but it is already bound by decisions made by people who were not elected, before elections were even held. Legally, former US Civil Administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer and the occupying powers had no right to enact laws for Iraq but the fact is, Bremer ruled, and the interim governing council signed into law, that everything in Iraq is to be privatized, open to 100% foreign ownership or at least foreign leasehold for forty years. That includes resources, amenities, and public services....
Two of the IMF’s conditions are the “opening up” (read cheap sell off to foreign companies) of the Iraqi oil industry and the rollback of the food ration, currently the only major social welfare program, presumably because it means people with no money get stuff free instead of paying for it. Even then, the debts left over after the conditional debt relief are more than enough to keep Iraq in servitude for many decades to come. What it means is that, no matter what their own beliefs, no matter what the wishes of the people who elected them, the new Iraqi National Assembly members are bound by the dictatorship of the International Monetary Fund and the Iraqi people have little influence over their decisions.

Paul Rogers weighs in: Caught in Iraq’s pincer.

n Washington’s “ideal” world, an incoming Iraqi government of any political complexion will be fully reliant on US military power for its own survival, thus making it easy for Washington to maintain a client regime. It looks straightforward in theory, but two factors once more suggest caution. First, some US military officials and independent analysts are starting to have serious doubts that the Iraqi security forces now being established have the capacity to control the insurgency, even with US support. Second, and in its way, more ominous, the insurgents may have already thought through this change of policy and be altering their tactics accordingly.

Are we making profits yet? Investors still fight shy of Iraq.

More health problems: Focus on shortage of medicine for HIV/AIDS patients.

Arranging a deal: New Iraqi Govt to Confront Future With US Military.

Toensing expects the U.S. military to become tightly linked to both the armed wings of Shi'ite religious parties and Kurdish peshmerga under the new government, since both support large-scale crackdowns on the largely Sunni insurgency, taking more prisoners and secretly locking them up in prisons like Abu Ghraib with minimal oversight.

Another attempted deal: Turkey urges new Iraqi president to preserve unity.

But no deals here: Power Struggles Stall Iraqi Provincial Councils.

Action Alert! Vote to get to have a vote of its members on whether Moveon should oppose the Iraq war. Stop the undemocratic suppression by Moveon's leadership: Urge MoveOn to oppose Iraq war.

Two accounts of the deal creating a government: Patchwork Presidency Finally Takes Shape. And: Iraqi government starts to take shape.

Profile of the new President: Former fighter who masks Kurdish divisions.

The International Crisis Group: Is Iran's touted influence in Iraq extensive or waning? Islamic republic has so far exercised restraint. See their: Full Report [pdf].

US makes up story to cover illegal hostage taking: US probes whether troops hold Iraq women "hostage".

A spokesman said the women were detained as insurgent suspects, not hostages. The latter would be a breach of international law, human rights experts say; it could, however, be legitimate to hold relatives as suspects in their own right.

U.S. government backs loans to small businesses in Iraq.

ACLU appealing to UN: Civil Rights Group Appeals to United Nations Over U.S. Torture.

Hans Blix speaks out: Former UN chief weapons inspector says Iraq war motivated by oil.

Please, we need our boss! Afghanistan begs Bush not to move US envoy to Iraq.

Juan Cole presents a long list of stories from the Iraqi press that are virtually ignored in the US. He asks "If it can't be found at, did it happen?" Huhn? [sic] The Real Iraq

ICRC wants the riot that the US denied occurred (but the ICRC witnessed) investigated: Red Cross demands prison riot inquiry.

Yet again: US troops wound CBS journalist in Iraq.

The Empire flexes its muscle. Permanent colonial status for Afghanistan. Will Iraq follow? Afghanistan likely to have permanent US military. US warns Europe not to step out of line: U.S. raises stakes for Europe on China ban. And space to become just a US colony: US moves to create a beachhead in space.

After two months: Iraqi Parliament Set to Name Kurd as New President.

A not implausible claim: America is usurping the democratic will in Iraq: To forestall a clerical-driven religious regime, Washington has a plan to arm small militias.

Health problems: Health officials fear leishmaniasis epidemic. While: Health Service Mired in Corruption: Fraud in the medical sector is more widespread than during the Saddam era

As this story indicates, US troops are: Out of Control.

British Parliament committee states the obvious: US troops in Iraq heavy handed: report.

"Excessive use by the US forces of overwhelming firepower has also been counterproductive, provoking antagonism toward the coalition among ordinary Iraqis," the report said, echoing the concerns of British officials.

Canadian company gets in on spoils: OGI Says Wins Iraq Oil Field Deal.

UN human rights monitors may get to visit Guantanamo Concentration Camp: UN Torture Envoy Confident of Visit to Guantanamo.

New strategies to get cannon fodder: They're Talking Up Arms.

Counterrecruiters Claim Some of Credit for Drop in Military Enlistments.

70% of buildings destroyed, but what's the rush: Compensation for Fallujah residents slow - locals.

Doctor Hafid al-Dulaimi, director of the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah Citizens (CCFC), established by the government, told IRIN that a study had been carried to assess the scale of destruction. He reported 36,000 destroyed homes in all districts of Fallujah, along with 8,400 shops. Al-Dulaimi pointed out that 60 children's nurseries, primary and secondary schools and colleges were destroyed and 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries were almost demolished by the attack, with 13 government buildings requiring new infrastructure.
"Most of the houses need to be rebuilt from scratch and the government should offer much more for families to enable them to return to their homes and [go back] to what it was like before the conflict started. Some shops have even disappeared and we hope that they stop discussing who will take the new government seats and remember that they have a lot to do here in Fallujah," al-Dulaimi urged.

Organizing, but: Iraq's Sunnis still looking for a leader.

Business opportunity? Or theft? Iraq Reconstruction Gathers Pace as Violence Dips.

Many Iraqi businessmen say a major problem is that a sizeable amount of money the U.S. has set aside for rebuilding is being squandered by cronyism. This has been a factor in delaying reconstruction even in relatively stable areas of Iraq. "It will take a year or two for things to stabilize," said Tawfiq al-Abadi, chairman of the Al-Abadi contracting group in Iraq's second largest southern city of Basra.

Military protects the thieves. Iraqi: Lawmakers Complain Over Halliburton Probe.

Iraq wants Islamic Development Bank to back reconstruction efforts.

Several murders covered over: Abu Ghraib Probe Suggests CIA Role in Iraqi Deaths.

ICRC observers says US lying: Red Cross saw riot denied by US.

Juan Cole explains why al-Hassani became the Speaker of Parliament: Speaker of Parliament Elected amid Rancor.

But as it transpires, al-Hassani is one of only two non-UIA Sunnis in parliament who are acceptable to the Shiites, and the only one of the two who would accept the job. The whole sorry episode is a matter for some alarm, in my view.... The punitive attitude of the Shiites toward Sunni Arabs who had had anything at all to do with the Baath Party is scary, since most Sunni Arabs who amount to anything inside the country, did. The rule ought not to be guilt by association but actual guilt of some crime.
Twelve of the Sunni Arab members of parliament have been put on notice by the new deputy speaker, Hussein Shahristani, that they are nothing but Baathist lackeys in his view. That isn't much incentive for them to reach back out to their community to join them in cooperating with the Shiites and ending the guerrilla war....
For the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, who had been at the pinnacle of government and society, having the post of speaker of the house is not exactly the most thrilling thing to ever happen to them, anyway. That they are represented by a long-time expatriate who has no local grass roots and was expelled by his own party is pretty ominous.

All is not well, say Shia leaders: Political Impasse Alarms Shiite Clergy: Ayatollahs, Concerned by Delay in Naming Government, May Support Protests.

But one senior representative, echoing the suspicions of others, suggested the United States was at least partially at fault for the deadlock and warned of more forceful intervention by the most senior clergy, collectively known as the marjaiya, if delays persist.... "If there was a choice for protests, the protests wouldn't be typical. They would be protests in the millions," Rubaii said Saturday from Fayadh's headquarters in this sacred city. "In other countries, thousands of protesters can overthrow a government."

Report: Iraqi legislators withdraw and resign.

An interview with Riverbend: Girl Blog From Iraq Speaks.

New Sunni Parliamentary Speaker is (in)famous for supporting the invasion and destruction of Falluja and the resultant displacement of 5% of the total Sunni population of Iraq. His other passion was to "privatize" the Iraqi economy, as desired by the neocon masters of Iraq. Just the person to "represent" the disenchanted Sunni minority. No wonder he's described as a "moderate" in the US press: Iraq's new parliament speaker recognized as moderate.

The culture of death and suffering: If You Build It, They Will Kill: U.S. Military Weaponry of the Near Future.

Hachim al-Hassani, the current industry minister: Iraqis elect Parliament speaker. However: Pachachi bids for post of vice-president.

Iraq's Dislocated Minorities Struggle in Urban Enclaves.

Mr. Imam, once a resident of a remote rural swamp, rushed here with hundreds of his tribal kin after Saddam Hussein's government fell, searching for opportunity and jobs. Instead, he said quietly,... "We are semi-dead."

How soldiers families are treated after the soldier is no longer useful to the War Party: War hero's family thrown out of US.

Only two months after her American husband gave his life defending his comrades, her son was declared an illegal in the US because of a bureaucratic bungle, she said. Not only does the family lose $7000 a year in survivor benefits, but she fears her son Jesse will miss a special dedication in honour of the war hero.... Next year the US Army will further recognise his sacrifice by naming its new Fort Bragg military police complex in his honour. But Jesse, 13, may not be allowed into the country for the dedication ceremony, Mrs Shanaberger fears.
She and Jesse -- fathered by her previous husband -- moved to the US to be with her new love when her son was still a baby. But last May, when US social security officers were calculating how much Mrs Shanaberger and her four children should receive in survivor benefits, she was told there was no record of Jesse having been a US resident.... Jesse was banned from even visiting the US for the next three years.

Would you hire these people to run your empire? Army Reports Flaws in Stryker Transport.

Get out while the going is good: Britain to pull 5,500 troops out of Iraq.

Defence chiefs are planning to reduce the size of the British military force in Iraq from 9,000 to 3,500 troops within 12 months as part of a phased withdrawal from Iraq.

As the US made numerous false claims about Iraqi weapons programs, "every piece of fresh evidence had been tested -- and disproved -- by U.N. inspectors," according to the Intelligence [aka. cover-up] Panel: Panel: U.S. Ignored Work of U.N. Arms Inspectors .

'Actually it is "fun" to shoot some people' wrote the President of mercenary firm Blackwater Security to his staff. Remember, BS was the firm who had four employees killed at Falluja last April eventually resulting at the destruction of the city and the displacement of its 250,000 people: Fury at 'shoot for fun' memo: Outburst by US security firm in Iraq is attacked by human rights groups . Get these monsters out of Iraq, and out of the US as well!

Dated 7 March and bearing the name of Blackwater's president, Gary Jackson, the electronic newsletter adds that terrorists 'need to get creamed, and it's fun, meaning satisfying, to do the shooting of such folk....'
'All of us who have ever waited through an hour and a half movie, or read some 300 pages of a thriller, to the point when the bad guys finally get their comeuppance know this perfectly well,' says the opening address of the six-page bulletin, which The Observer believes to be authentic.

Must Read! Aiden Delgado: Army reservist witnesses war crimes: New revelations about racism in the military.

Delgado says he observed mutilation of the dead, trophy photos of dead Iraqis, mass roundups of innocent noncombatants, positioning of prisoners in the line of fire—all violations of the Geneva conventions. His own buddies—decent, Christian men, as he describes them—shot unarmed prisoners.

Must Watch! From Director Patricia Foulkrod and Operation Truth, a film portrays the war from the perspective of the soldiers: The Ground Truth: The Human Cost of War Part I Part II.

We see the dreams and harsh realities that set up many soldiers and their families for a lifetime of heartbreak. Americans, on the Right and Left, living in Blue and Red states, spend billions of their tax money recruiting, training, and paying soldiers to kill in distant wars. Yet, we provide little assistance and marginal support once the killing is over, and soldiers come home, now expected to live nonviolent lives.

Riverbend: American Media...

Two years ago, the major part of the war in Iraq was all about bombarding us with smart bombs and high-tech missiles. Now there’s a different sort of war- or perhaps it’s just another phase of the same war. Now we’re being assailed with American media. It’s everywhere all at once....
The first time I saw 60 Minutes on MBC 4, it didn’t occur to me that something was wrong. I can’t remember what the discussion was, but I remember being vaguely interested and somewhat mystified at why we were getting 60 Minutes. I soon found out that it wasn’t just 60 Minutes at night: It was Good Morning, America in the morning, 20/20 in the evening, 60 Minutes, 48-Hours, Inside Edition, The Early Show… it was a constant barrage of American media. The chipper voice in Arabic tells us, “So you can watch what *they* watch!” *They* apparently being millions of Americans....
I’ve been enchanted with the shows these last few weeks. The thing that strikes me most is the fact that the news is so… clean. It’s like hospital food. It’s all organized and disinfected. Everything is partitioned and you can feel how it has been doled out carefully with extreme attention to the portions- 2 minutes on women’s rights in Afghanistan, 1 minute on training troops in Iraq and 20 minutes on Terri Schiavo! All the reportages are upbeat and somewhat cheerful, and the anchor person manages to look properly concerned and completely uncaring all at once....
I have a suggestion of my own for a reality show. Take 15 Bush supporters and throw them in a house in the suburbs of, say, Falloojeh for at least 14 days. We could watch them cope with the water problems, the lack of electricity, the check points, the raids, the Iraqi National Guard, the bombings, and- oh yeah- the ‘insurgents’. We could watch their house bombed to the ground and their few belongings crushed under the weight of cement and brick or simply burned or riddled with bullets. We could see them try to rebuild their life with their bare hands (and the equivalent of $150)… I’d not only watch *that* reality show, I’d tape every episode.

After two months of deadlock: Iraqi Politicians Complain of Flaws in Interim Law.

An amazing claim: Iraq Reconstruction Fund Invested on Wall Street.

The negative growth observed to date should not be cause for gloom. This is a long-term investment of behalf of the Iraqi people. According to OSBS projections, the fund's assets will achieve a value of $38.9 billion by a decade from now, assuming vigorous growth in the US economy. It is important to compare that figure with the almost-certain undesirable outcome of spending the money directly on infrastructure enhancement. The past two years' experience shows that new public works run a significant risk of damage or even instantaneous 100% depreciation due to hostile and friendly combat activities. And, as the CJCS [Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers] has noted, insurgencies typically last 7 to 12 years. If invested on the ground in Iraq today, the reconstruction funds might well be worth precisely zero to the Iraqi people a decade from now.

Afghan puppet court reduces sentences for "private" US torturers: Afghan Court Lowers 3 Convicts' Sentences.

Report: Iraq blocs agree on parliament speaker.

Confusion: Iraqi Sunni clerics deny decree on police.

Iraq's Association of Muslim Scholars denied Saturday issuing a religious decree allowing Iraqis to join of the Iraqi police forces and army.

An interview with Dahr Jamail: "Life in Falluja is a horror story".

For example, several people reported to me that the way the U.S. military was getting its intelligence on where to bomb in Falluja prior to the siege of the city in November was that any Iraqi could literally go up to the U.S. base outside of Falluja and say, "Yes, in this house, there's a fighter." They were paid between $100 and $500, and then that house was bombed. So this was a method that many people used to settle old scores and make some cash. On the flip side, of course, sometimes, they were right. Sometimes, there were fighters there, and they would be killed. But more often than not, as you can imagine, that wasn't the case.

General Janis Karpinski says she believes abuse still occurring at Abu Ghraib: Many shared blame in Abu Ghraib: Ex-prison overseer accepts her role but says others involved.

"If I were to guess, I would bet they have been told, 'Don't bring a camera anywhere near this place.' ... But I believe it's still going on," she said. "I don't think it's changed. ... They've just become better at keeping the rest of the story from the world."

Robert Fisk: The US forces, like the Crusaders before them, are prisoners in their own fortresses.

"You can see why the Crusaders couldn't last here," Pat said as we walked out of the huge gateway of the Castle of Saint Gilles. "I wonder if they even knew who they were fighting."

Iran not the country portrayed in US propaganda: Another country. "As rumours persist of US plans to invade Iran, Rageh Omaar, the face of the BBC during the Iraq war, visits Tehran - and finds a nation far removed from the one George Bush seems to fear "

[I]n Iraq, the absence of domestic opponents meant that the human rights arguments for the invasion could be made only by exiled groups and the British and American governments. In Iran, there are authentic voices inside the country.

Could this be the future? Oil Surges on 'Super-Spike' Prediction.

Oil prices surged 2.6 percent on Thursday as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the biggest trader of energy derivatives, said prices could ultimately surge all the way above $100 a barrel.

Facing a possible purge by ascendant Shia, Sunni: Clerics Urge Iraqis to Join Security Force.

Still, it wasn't a full-fledged endorsement. The edict, endorsed by a group of 64 Sunni clerics and scholars, instructed enlistees to refrain from helping foreign troops against their own countrymen. Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai, a cleric in the Association of Muslim Scholars, read the edict during a sermon at a major Sunni mosque in Baghdad. He said it was necessary for Sunnis to join the security forces to prevent Iraqi police and army from falling into "the hands of those who have caused chaos, destruction and violated the sanctities."

In order to liberate Iraq: U.S. Soldiers Told to ”Beat the F**k Out of” Detainees.

The ACLU said the reason for the delay in delivering the more than 1,200 pages of documents was ”evident in the contents”, which include reports of brutal beatings, ”exercise until exhaustion” and sworn statements that soldiers were told to ”beat the f**k out of” detainees. One file cites evidence that military intelligence personnel in Iraq ”tortured” detainees held in their custody. The treatment was reportedly meant to ”soften up” detainees for interrogation. It occurred at the same time guards at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were carrying out similar tactics.

The crooks may still be liable: Justice: Iraq Fraud Can Be Tried in US.

In secret: U.S. military has held an American citizen without charges in Iraq since last year.

Sounds like the best source: Key Iraqi informant was 'crazy,' U.S. was told before war.

Prewar claims by the United States that Iraq was producing biological weapons were based almost entirely on accounts from a defector who was described as "crazy" by his intelligence handlers and a "congenital liar" by his friends. The defector code-named "Curveball" spoke with alarming specificity about Iraq's alleged biological weapons programs and fleet of mobile labs. But postwar investigations found that he wasn't even in Iraq at times when he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work. Despite persistent doubts about his credibility, Curveball's claims were included in the Bush administration's case for war without so much as a caveat. And when CIA analysts argued after the invasion that the agency needed to admit that it had been duped, they were forced out of their jobs.

Thousand year old: Ancient minaret damaged in Iraq. See pictures from before and after the damage: Al-Malwia, as Sad as the Rest of Iraq .

olice say insurgents blew up the top section of the 52m (162ft) Malwiya tower, which had been used by US soldiers as a lookout position.

Continued stalemate: Iraq's Shiites reject Sunni candidate for speaker, Italy and Bulgaria to pull troops.

The ACLU calls for a perjury investigation against Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez for his lies to Congress covering up his roll in Abu Ghraib. It couldn't happen to a guiltier guy: Rights group seeks probe of general’s statements.

Loyalists of Rebel Cleric Flex Muscle: Followers of Muqtada Sadr who won seats in the National Assembly have formed a bloc and are beginning to push their own agenda.

About two dozen Sadr loyalists say their recently formed Independent National Bloc represents about 9% of the assembly, with ambitions to grow...
On the streets of Sadr City, some residents are hopeful that representation in the government will improve their lives. The new political bloc "will benefit the Sadr movement," said Hussein Kadhim, 30, a laborer. "We want them to rebuild Sadr City, which was oppressed during the former government. We want better services and to express our opinions."

Get the Kurds in line, please: Prime Minister Elect Seeks British Mediation to Form Government.

An unnamed source close to al-Jaafari said Iraq's prime-minister elect has met British government officials and appealed to British prime minister Tony Blair to "put pressure" on the Kurds.

Iraq Sunnis name speaker candidate.

Aljazeera learned that a number of Sunni Arab political parties in Iraq chose Mishaan al-Jiburi as their candidate on Wednesday.

Police murder of three Badr Corp members lead to outrage: In Iraq, 3 deaths spur calls to revamp police.

Definitely not an advancement of human progress: Iraq's women of power who tolerate wife-beating and promote polygamy. See also: Secret Divorces Underline Women’s Powerlessness.

[Iraq's women:] “If you say to a man he cannot use force against a woman, you are asking the impossible,” she explains. “So we say a husband can beat his wife, but he cannot leave a mark. If he does that, he will be punished....”
As a devout Shia Muslim and one of eighty-nine women sitting in the new parliament, she knows what her first priority there is: to implement Islamic law. When Dr Ubaedey took her seat at last week’s assembly opening, she found herself among an increasingly powerful group of religious women politicians who are seeking to repeal old laws giving women some of the same rights as men and replace them with Sharia, Islam’s divine law.
Among the new laws that they are pushing for is one allowing men to marry up to four wives, one awarding women half the inheritance given to men and another denying women custody of children over the age of 2 in the event of divorce.
[Secret Divorces:] Life for 38 year old Lana has no meaning since her husband of 18 years informed her that he'd divorced her five months earlier. Lana lived with her husband during those months, so she is shocked to hear the news.

Cannon fodder reserve dries up. So new t3echniques to trick youth into signing up for casket brigade:

The active Army was 2,150 recruits short of meeting its March goal of 6,800 new troops, and the Army Reserve fell 739 short of its goal of 1,600. These shortfalls were worse than those in February, when the Army and its reserve components failed to meet recruiting goals for the first time since May 2000....
Recruiters say it's the parents of potential recruits, such as Cortnee Smith's father, who often are the biggest impediments. Where young people may view themselves as invincible, parents are painfully aware of their children's mortality....
So the military is exhausting every imaginable idea, effort and inducement to keep manpower up and attract qualified troops. Recruiters are hitting NASCAR events, rock concerts, rodeos and rib festivals, using custom-painted Humvees and other gimmicks to attract the masses like old-fashioned traveling salesmen.

Those who go, come back injured in many ways: Mental disorders are on the rise among Afghanistan, Iraq veterans.

As many as one out of four veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals in the past 16 months were diagnosed with mental disorders, a number that has been steadily rising, according to a report in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

Max Boot:: The Iraq War's Outsourcing Snafu: The coalition of the billing has real limits.

Many are well-trained U.S. or British veterans, but others are Rambo wannabes or sordid desperados. Among the mercenaries who have surfaced in Iraq are South Africans who were members of apartheid-era death squads and Chileans who served in Pinochet's security services.

Protest, Resistance, and Civil War

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Two U.S. Soldiers Killed by Bomb in Iraq.

Friday tally: Insurgents Strike Across Iraq, Killing 41.

Friday: Spate Of Deadly Attacks In Iraq.

Armed robbers raid wheat ship at Iraqi port.

Iraq attacks kill eight ahead of vote on new cabinet.

Report: Iraqi Unit Brings Calm To a Rebel Stronghold.

More mystery surrounding deaths. Why all the deception? tadium Victims “Were National Guard”.

Residents in Haditha claim that the 19 bodies found in a football stadium last week were members of the Iraqi National Guard, ING - disputing government claims that insurgents had executed fishermen.

Wednesday: Iraqi woman MP killed in Baghdad.

Hello! Once taboo words 'civil war' now spoken in Iraq.

We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords ... It's Sunni versus Shi'ite, that is the issue that is really in the ascendancy right now, and that wasn't the case right after the elections...."
[After being purged from security forces:] Interior Ministry officials fear the Sunni commanders, with their well-armed and trained men, could then break away to set up rival militias. "Both sides are sharpening their knives. They are saying, 'we've got to protect our own people'. It is not a good situation," said Kadhim at the Interior Ministry.

Surprise! US says Iraq insurgency undiminished in past year.

Just after we heard the insurgents re finished comes: Bolder insurgent tactics unleashed in Iraq.

Another oil field attack: 'Oilfield blast was a deliberate attack'.

A job's a job, but is it worth it: Iraqi forces desert posts as insurgent attacks are stepped up.

Bloody Sunday: Iraq suicide bombings kill 23, Pakistani hostage released.

This weekend: Bombs Kill U.S. Sailor, Two Soldiers in Iraq.

Killing for hire: Shia Iraqi hitmen admit they were paid to join Sunni insurgency.

Iraqi Shias have admitted taking part in brutal attacks on members of their own religious community after being recruited as paid hitmen for the Sunni terrorist leader, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

Sunday: Two Car Bombs Kill Six In Iraq: Twenty-Five More People Wounded.

Stating the obvious: Insurgent Violence Escalates In Iraq: Over 100 Killed As Post-Election Calm Dissipate. Moral: ignore all those stories claiming "progress" in conquering the country, based on short-term trends. Fighting goes up. It goes down. Only fundamental changes in the situation will lead to a real change in the fighting.

The U.S. official said this week that overall attacks had increased since the end of March. Roadside bombings and attacks on military targets are up by as much as 40 percent in parts of the country over the same period, according to estimates from private security outfits.

At last a plausible story of horror. It'll be a while, if ever, till we know if it's true. But it could be: Corpses keep coming from Iraq's river of death. [I don't want to be understood as denying it. I've only being skeptical, as many stories are being spread to fuel multiple agendas.] An alternate view: Hostage hoax. And yet a third view: Tigris corpses still a mystery.

Friday: Car Bomb Blast Kills 8 in Iraqi Mosque.

Iraq militants show 'crash video' of helicopter.

Iraq has discovered time travel! The bodies of of hostages taken a few days ago were being pulled from the Tigris river two months ago! Iraq's murky corpse mystery. Why are government officials risking ethnic civil war with their absurd claims?

They said they [the bodies] had started to appear in the al-Suwayra stretch of the Tigris nearly two months earlier, on 27 February. On the first three days, 27 bodies were retrieved, while during and after the supposed hostage crisis only six corpses were pulled from the river. But in the 26 days between 26 March and 20 April, there was a steady flow of cadavers. A total of 33 were retrieved during that period, an average of just over one a day.

US helping establish and train Iraqi militia death squads: U.S. organizing death squads to terrorize Iraqi resistance.

The helicopter shot down yesterday was being used by mercenaries: Six Blackwater employees die when copter shot down.

"Civilian" helicopter shot down: Helicopter Downed in Iraq, Nine Dead. And: Car bomb hits civilian convoy on Baghdad's airport road.

Real war: Horror Glimpsed From the Inside of A Humvee in Iraq.

Not National Guardsmen as originally reported: 19 bodies found in Iraq were fisherman.

Wednesday claim: Bomb explodes west of Baghdad, scores of US troops wounded.

The "things are calming down" stories are blown away: Iraq's insurgency exploits delay in forming govt.

Another bloody day. But is this also a continuation of an elaborate hoax? More than 50 bodies found in Iraq river. Some claim these bodies are of executed hostages, the hostages whom neighbors told Reuters did not exist! With the absence of any independent reporting from Iraq, we may never know the truth of this, and, potentially, many future such episodes. In the current situation, many forces from all sides have an interest in spreading a multitude of rumors. Anyway, the article also reports on an alleged insurgent execution of 19 or 20 apparent Iraqi National Guard troops. Is this true? Who knows, at this point. Also on Wednesday: Iraq Prime Minister Escapes Assassination Attempt.

Wednesday: 2 U.S. Troops Killed, 4 Wounded.

Tuesday: Insurgents kill 10 in Iraq.

Foreign troops fought by locals. What else is new: Violence is 'off the chart' in area on Iraq border.

"We're facing a well-developed, mature insurgency with the support of the local population" of about 100,000 townspeople.

Yet another "sign of US victory" as insurgents up the ante: The Grim Reaper, Riding a Firetruck in Iraq: Marines Recount Dramatic Assault At Base Near Syria.

Monday: Iraq Bomb Kills U.S. Soldier, Wounds Another. And: Militants set off explosion that damages an oil pipeline.

Another bizarre aspect of the phony hostage drama: Iraq Official Connected with Hostage Crisis Killed. A few hours later, the story gets even more bizarre: Iraq Officials Retract Statements on Assassination.

Iraqis cry foul over 'hostage' mystery. And here is an Iraqi resistance view of the Madain situation sans hostages: Muqtada as-Sadr Office, local notables refute hoax about “Shi‘ah kidnappings,” “Shi‘ah expulsions” from al-Mada’in.

[Iraqis cry foul:] "We want the area to be spared the foolish actions of some in the government," said Sheikh Abdul Hadi al-Darraji, spokesman for radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr....
But influential Sunni clerics including those in the Committee of Muslim Scholars said the whole affair was staged to justify a military operation against Sunnis in the area. "They found no Zarqawi when they went into Fallujah, and the same thing happened here, no hostages," said Sheikh Rafi al-Ani referring to the US-led offensive on the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, to find Al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi. Ani spoke of Sunnis from the tribes of Dulaim, Jubur and Mawla who have intermarried and lived with Shiite tribes from the Albuamer and Tamim for more than 100 years in the area of Madain.

It appears that a fake hostage crisis is to be used as the excuse for a major attack on Sunni-controlled towns: Iraqi MPs call for broad offensive on rebels south of Baghdad.

No sign of hostages in Iraq's al-Madain.

Now it appears the Madain hostage drama may be an invention: Iraq Kidnap Reports May Be Exaggerated

[T]here were growing indications the incident had been grossly exaggerated, perhaps an outgrowth of a tribal dispute or political maneuvering....
An AP photographer and television cameraman who were in or near the town Sunday said large numbers of Iraqi forces had sealed it off, supported by U.S. forces farther away on the edge of Madain. The cameraman said he toured the town Sunday morning. People were going about their business normally, shops were open and tea houses were full, he said. Residents contacted by telephone also said everything was normal in Madain.

Two differing views Sunday night: Hostages will die unless Shia flee their homes, say terrorists. Or: Iraq Qaeda wing says no Shi'ite hostages in Madaen.

[Iraq Qaeda:] Iraq's al Qaeda wing has said a hostage crisis in Madaen near Baghdad had been fabricated to give Iraqi forces a pretext to raid the town and attack Sunni Muslims, according to an internet statement. "The infidels fabricated the case of the hostages. They are lying," the Sunni group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said in the statement on an Islamist website. "The infidels and apostates incited them (Shi'ites) to lie so that they can invade Madaen as they did Fallujah...and other cities," it said, referring to last year's US-led military offensive against the Sunni city west of Baghdad....
A senior Shi'ite official in Baghdad said up to 150 hostages were being held, including women and children. But a police official has said the number of hostages could be as few as three.

Sunday, in the Shia hostage crisis: Iraq crisis renews fears of sectarian strife: Troops tighten cordon on besieged town holding Shiite hostages. And: Iraqi troops call halt to Maidan assault.

Humanitarian group founder killed in Iraq attack from Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC).

Claims the different strands of the insurgency are cooperating in spectacular atacks: Iraq rebels ‘unite’ to fight coalition.

he commander said Zarqawi’s group, known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, had agreed to work with insurgents ranging from Islamic radicals to supporters of Saddam Hussein in a loose affiliation called Iraq’s mujaheddin. “Targets have been selected and plans are in place for coming attacks which will introduce new strategies and updated tactics,” said the commander.

Outcome unclear at this point: Iraqi Forces Raid Village where Shia hostages are held.

Sunday: Three US soldiers killed in Iraq.

Patrick Cockburn: 150 hostages and 19 deaths leave US claims of Iraqi 'peace' in tatters.

Most violent incidents in Iraq go unreported. We saw one suicide bomb explosion, clouds of smoke and dust erupting into the air, and heard another in the space of an hour. Neither was mentioned in official reports. Last year US soldiers told the IoS that they do not tell their superiors about attacks on them unless they suffer casualties. This avoids bureaucratic hassle and "our generals want to hear about the number of attacks going down not up". This makes the official Pentagon claim that the number of insurgent attacks is down from 140 a day in January to 40 a day this month dubious.
US casualties have fallen to about one dead a day in March compared with four a day in January and five a day in November. But this is the result of a switch in American strategy rather than a sign of a collapse in the insurgency. US military spokesmen make plain that America's military priority has changed from offensive operations to training Iraqi troops and police. More than 2,000 US military advisers are working with Iraqi forces....
If the new Iraqi government succeeds in establishing itself it will be a largely Shia state with no more interest than the Sunnis in retaining a US presence. Iraqis say they sense that the US wants Iraq to be a weak state, and this they are bound to oppose.

Now that most news reports say the insurgency is winding down: Detainees escape from Iraq's largest detention facility: Ten of eleven Camp Bucca escapees recaptured; 13 Iraqis and one U.S. soldier die in attacks; Sunni militants hold dozens of Shiites hostage in Madain.

Another step on the road to civil war: Kidnappers in Iraq threaten to kill 60 hostages.

Friday: Two U.S. Marines killed in Iraq: More convoys attacked in Baghdad.

Friday: Bombings kill four in Iraq.

Patrick Cockburn in Mosul: Iraq's northern capital stalked by suicide bombers.

He thought the 14,000 Iraqi police in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, were often in league with the insurgents. They were implicated in the assassination of a previous governor, Osama Kashoula, on 14 July....
For now, Mr Goran and Mr Pire are probably right in thinking insurgency is on the retreat. Intelligence has improved. Television confessions of captured resistance fighters, often doubling as criminals, have damaged the insurgents.

Truth or propaganda? Insurgents come looking for deals to enter politics.

Midlevel leaders of the insurgency in Iraq are attempting to give themselves up in return for deals that would allow them to join the political system, U.S. and Iraqi officials say....
"Groups that participated in the insurgency are now coming forward and saying they want to participate in the politics," Steven Casteel, the senior U.S. consultant to Iraq's Interior Ministry, said Wednesday. "Normally, it's a cell leader coming forward through an intermediary."

Thursday: 26 dead, 39 hurt in Iraq attacks. And: Suicide attack on US intelligence base in Iraq causes casualties.

Thursday: 14 dead in new Iraq attacks.

Wednesday: 12 Iraqi cops killed in bomb explosion. And: Blast near Baghdad Green Zone kills five.

In Mosul, a Battle 'Beyond Ruthless'.

Report: Many Iraqis killed in US air attack.

Twenty Iraqis have been killed and 22 injured after US helicopters and heavy artillery bombed houses in al-Rummana village north of al-Qaim city. Seven children, six women and three old men were among the dead, witnesses said, while the injured included 13 children, seven women and two old men.

Insurgents Attack U.S. Base In Iraq: Large-Scale Assault Is Second Within 2 Weeks; Contractor Abducted.

Wow! New killing machines! Laptop-Triggered Mines Heading to Iraq.

It seems obvious that these remote-control anti-personnel mines, however carefully monitored, will present new dangers to innocent Iraqi civilians for years to come," the landmine survivors' group says in a statement on its Web site.

Iraqi kidnapping becomes big business: Focus on increase in kidnappings.

Monday: Two Car Bomb Blasts in West Iraq. And: Gunmen Assassinate Local Official In Iraq's Mosul.

Another American kidnapped: American Contractor Taken in Iraq.

How many of the "sspects" have anything to do with the insurgency? U.S.-Iraqi raid nets dozens of suspected insurgents.

Claim: Iraq nabs ‘rebel financier’ Saddam nephew.

Claim: Use of violence dividing Iraq's insurgent factions.

Details on last Saturday's attack on Abu Ghraib: Fire and rage in the shadow of Abu Ghraib.

Saturday: Attacks across Iraq kill many.

Saturday: 15 Iraqi troops killed in bomb blast.

Can US reduce troops? Handoff to Iraqi Forces Being Tested in Mosul: U.S. Military Is Accelerating Transition.

Not quite as optimistic as some other US press accounts:

Overall, analysts point to what seems like a classic insurgency, one that is expected to increase in sophistication by learning from past mistakes and less capable fighters are killed off....
A decrease in attacks on US forces, while touted as a victory by US officials, doesn't mean the insurgents aren't still reaching their goals.

Another US war crime: Iraqi suspect says US troops took mother "hostage".

An Iraqi apparently suspected by U.S. troops of taking part in attacks in Baghdad accused U.S. forces on Tuesday of taking his mother and sister hostage to pressure him and his brothers into surrendering for questioning. A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said he doubted the accusation and was not aware of such an incident. But neighbours interviewed around Arkan Mukhlif al-Batawi's villa in the capital's Sunni Arab suburb of Taji corroborated his account....
A handwritten sign in Arabic on the front gate of their house read: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters. "Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention." It was signed "Bandit 6", apparently U.S. Army code, possibly designating a company commander....
A spokesman at U.S. headquarters in Iraq, who also declined to give his name, said he could neither confirm nor deny the incident. He said he did not find Batawi's account "plausible". Three neighbours of the Batawi home did corroborate the accusation. They said U.S. troops, accompanied by Iraqi police, had arrested Batawi's 65-year-old mother and a sister who is 35. "The Americans attacked the house of the Batawi family. They were searching for the brothers. When they could not find them they took the women," said one neighbour, Kamal Abbas. "Through a translator they

Despite recent stories, the fighting's obviously not over: Army asked yet again to give troops in Iraq more armored Humvees.

Tuesday: Attack on U.S. Convoy in Iraq Kills GI; 4 U.S. soldiers killed in clashes in Iraq; and Iraq general kidnapped in Baghdad.

U.S., Iraqi Troops Battle Dozens of Insurgents.

Newsweek tells a tale of al-Zarqawi and Bin Laden: Tale of Two Terrorists.

U.S. Soldier and Marine Killed in Iraq Blasts.

US injuries rise in Abu Ghraib attack, though only a few are reportedly "serious": Prison attack leaves 44 US soldiers wounded.

An attack on Abu Ghraib prison leaves 20 Americans and 12 prisoners wounded: U.S. troops hurt in mass Iraq jail attack.

Saturday: Car Bomb Kills Five Iraqis North of Baghdad.

Friday: Gunmen Kill Police Chief in Iraq. While yesterday: Iraq extends state of emergency for another month.

Many small steps toward all-out civil war: Armed neighborhood militias spring up as ethnic tensions worsen.

Gunmen Target Pilgrims to Major Iraq Religious Festival.

Three Soldiers, Marine Killed in Action in Iraq.

US forces safer, but... March the least deadly month for US in Iraq for more than a year.

Iraqi forces tend to lack body armour and travel in exposed pick-ups, leaving them more vulnerable than the Americans they replace. Between 4,895 and 6,370 have died since Saddam Hussein's fall two years ago, according to western thinktank estimates.

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Vote for Lib Dems will not let in Tories.

Tom Hayden: Open Letter to Howard Dean.

Personally, I cannot remember a time in thirty years when I have been more despairing over the party's moral default....
The Democratic Party's present collaboration with the Bush Iraq policies is not only immoral but threatens to tear apart the alliance built with antiwar Democrats, Greens, and independents in 2004....
I do not believe the Iraq War is worth another drop of blood, another dollar of taxpayer subsidy, another stain on our honor. Our occupation is the chief cause of the nationalist resistance in that country. We should end the war and foreign economic occupation. Period.

Norman Solomon points out that the story of Marla Ruzicka's work is quite complicated. Her compassion aided the occupations that was killing so many Iraqis: Iraq: War, Aid and Public Relations.

Reuters analysis: Rocky road ahead for Iraq's partial government.

Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary College in London and author of a new report "Iraq's Future: The aftermath of regime change", believes the greatest challenge is building a functioning state and then seeing if it can control violence. "The legacy left to the new Iraqi government by the U.S. occupation is clearly very daunting," he said. "The Iraqi state today does not exist in any meaningful form."
He argues that the government has to develop a strategy to reach out to radicals behind the insurgency, but doubts its Shi'ite leaders are willing to take such a risky approach. If the government does not seek some form of negotiation, he expects Iraq's future to be characterised by "a long and very bloody period of continued instability".

In Iraq, U.S. forces and insurgents compete to win civilian informants.

''Look at the people the insurgents have managed to kidnap or murder in the last few weeks. These actions depend on very good intelligence,'' said Barry R. Posen, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in military affairs and Iraq. At the same time, Posen said, it looks as if U.S. and British forces are getting better intelligence on the insurgency, ''mostly from Iraqi civilians.''

The Berkshire Eagle: A fig leaf for Abu Ghraib.

So the Army manual, like the inspector general's report last week that cleared the Army's top brass of any wrongdoing in connection with Abu Ghraib and blamed the whole thing on a group of hapless enlisted men and women, is a fig leaf to cover the true policy of the United States with respect to the interrogation of suspected terrorists and insurgents. The U.S. does not intend to give up the use of mental and physical torture, which it regards as a useful tool in the war against Islamic extremism.

Poll: U.S. To Bush: Pull Out of Iraq.

Revenge! The good soldier's revenge: In Colin Powell's battle to block Bush's nominee to the UN, far more is at stake than John Bolton's unsuitability.

Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was probably spying on Powell, his senior advisers and other officials reporting to him on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed. If so, it is also possible that Bolton was sharing this top-secret information with his neoconservative allies within the Pentagon and the vice-president's office, with whom he was in daily contact and who were known to be working in league against Powell.
If the intercepts are released they may disclose whether Bolton was a key figure in a counter-intelligence operation run inside the Bush administration against the secretary of state, who would resemble the hunted character played by Will Smith in Enemy of the State. Both Republican and Democratic senators have demanded that the state department, which holds the NSA intercepts, turn them over to the committee. But Rice so far has refused. What is she hiding by her cover-up?

Full legal advice of British Attorney general released day after partial leak: Full text: Iraq legal advice by Lord Goldsmith. Now there's no chance of moving on.

Top Labor Party member says: Blair Should Jump Before He's Pushed: Dalyell.

Howard Zinn says: Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home.

Here is the flawed logic: We are alone in the world in this invasion. The insurgency is growing. There is no visible prospect of success. Therefore, let's send more troops? The definition of fanaticism is that when you discover that you are going in the wrong direction, you redouble your speed....
In leaving, we can improve the odds of peace and stability by encouraging an international team of negotiators, largely Arab, to mediate among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds and work out a federalist compromise to give some autonomy to each group. We must not underestimate the capacity of the Iraqis, once free of both Saddam Hussein and the U.S. occupying army, to forge their own future. But the first step is to support our troops in the only way that word support can have real meaning -- by saving their lives, their limbs, their sanity. By bringing them home.

Norman Solomon: Get Out of Iraq!

But most Iraqis want the US military out of their country -- pronto. As Newsweek reported in its Jan. 31 edition: "Now every major poll shows an ever-larger majority of Iraqis want the Americans to leave." Yet we hear that US troops must stay for the good of the Iraqi people -- even though most of those people clearly want US troops to leave. (Are we supposed to believe that Americans know better than Iraqis whether American troops should stay in Iraq?)

Even Israel feels WMD lie sting: 'The Mossad faltered in Iraq'.

Lakshmi Chaudhry on Reza Aslan's, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam: The Future of Islam.

Punishment for refusing to be a patsy: AEA delays ElBaradei reappointment.

Why do they hate us? As it turns out, says Aslan, it's really not about "us" at all. Islamic terrorism, he argues, is for the most part a symptom not of a clash of civilizations but an internal conflict within the Muslim world -- a centuries-old battle over the future of Islam.

At Carnegie Mellon University: Protesters target U.S. Army recruiters at CMU.

For those who are amused by these "debates" with fascists, Justin Raimondo: In Defense of Marla Ruzicka: Debbie Schlussel is glad she died – and so is David Horowitz.

I want to apologize to my readers for making them wade through Schlussel's river of sh*t – but we have to look straight in the face of evil if we want to be able to overcome it....
It is convenient for the neocons to turn a saint into a devil figure – anything to keep their deluded followers so hopped up in a frenzy of hate that they won't question the increasingly authoritarian impulses of their leaders.

A pro-Government argument from Abdullah Muhsin of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions: Iraqi Labor Unions and the War.

Palestinian lives count as one third a Jewish life: New York Times Minimizes Palestinian Deaths: The Perversions of Daniel Okrent.

Hans Blix: Weapons of Mass Destruction: Challenges Ahead.

I confess I see dangers on the road traveled in the last few years by the US administration. Further exploration of new types of American nuclear weapons will not, I think, induce others to disarm and to renounce weapons options that are technically open to them. There may be more weapons and conflicts rather than less down this road.

Anthony H. Cordesman: Global energy demand and capacity building in the petroleum sector.

Ray McGovern: The War For [Intelligence] Independence.

The former and, a former: Another Ex-Colleague Criticizes Bolton.

"Bolton has none of the qualities needed for that job. On the contrary, he has all the qualities needed to harm the image and objectives in the U.N. and its affiliated international organizations. If it is now U.S. policy not to reform the U.N but to destroy it, Bolton is our man."

David Lindorff A Fine Christian Nation: Sex Trumps Torture and Murder.

The public and media obsession with victims of Catholic priest abuse, which includes the hounding down of alleged molesters decades after the alleged incidents of abuse occurred, stands in stark and shameful contrast to the almost complete disinterest shown for tracking down the far more vicious abuse of prisoners by their American military or intelligence unit captors.

Two views of the Vietnam analogy: Is Iraq Bush’s Vietnam? And: Echoes of Iraq Ring Through Vietnam.

Make Blair pay a price: Brian Sedgemore: 'I urge everyone to give Blair a bloody nose at the election' . And: Labour defector wants "blood".

I'm renouncing Tony Blair, the Devil, New Labour and all their works. I don't do this lightly. I know that some of my friends will be angry, and I will be rubbished by the New Labour spin machine. Mad Dog [John] Reid will be set on me. John Prescott will say, "Brian? Brian who?"
But I can let them into a secret. I am not alone. A small group of us - all MPs who are standing down - decided we would leave the Labour Party immediately after the election. Among the MPs, there are 150 who loathe Mr Blair, 50 more who have grave doubts about him and a further 200 who love him. They are sometimes called the Clones or the Stepford Wives.
Tony Blair's lies over the war on Iraq, and his careless destruction of liberty have left me disgusted with the party I joined in 1968. The public are clearly nauseated by what they see at Westminster and the number of abstentions will be colossal in the election, but nobody should blame the electorate for that....
The problem with Tony Blair is that he tells big porkies as easily as he tells little porkies, whether it is watching Jackie Milburn play football, or being certain of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He drags in the hapless Attorney General to back him up on the legality of the war. Lord Goldsmith says he was not leant on. The Attorney General can protest his innocence until the end of time, and people won't believe him, and neither do I. But Blair is shameless. He used to act at school and he uses that talent now; every time he speaks, for example, at the death of Diana, Princess of Wales you can hear someone saying, "Cue broken voice, quivering lips, dropped shoulder, tear in left eye".

Business leaders withdraw their backing from Labour over war.

Ayn Rand follower calls for mass murder of "enemy" civilians to save US troop lives. This is "freedom?" Ayn Rand Institute director discusses morality of war.

Mark Zepezauer admits he was wrong: Iraq: A Confession From the Left.

Zia Mian: American Domination is in Trouble.

Tom Engelhardt: Iraq "Uptick," Superpower Downtick?

W. David Jenkins III asks: Conservatives, How Bad Do Things Have To Get?

Raed Jarrar raises questions about the bodies pulled out of the river: Ramadi, Madain, and the Infamous "Baath-Qaeda" Camp.

Bill Clinton campaigns for Bush's poodle: Clinton backs Blair's Labour Party in British election.

Lies catching up with Blair: Opposition goes on Iraq offensive: No 10 accused of lying over war advice. What was hidden: Attorney General's warnings.

More on the fathr of Killed soldier running against Blair: I must stand up to Blair for the sake of my Tom.

Robert Fisk: How Arabic text of WMD dossier was massaged by Downing St.

A reminder of the venom of the fascist right is this attack on martyred Marla Ruzicka: Treasonatrix Barbie: Meet the Real Marla Ruzicka.

Marla Ruzicka was nothing more than a traitor cross-dressing as a peace activist....
While it’s a sad day when any American gets killed by Islamic terrorists, it’s measurably less sad when that American aided and abetted them—and belittled our troops. For Marla Ruzicka, a/k/a Treasonatrix Barbie, some might call it, poetic justice.

Retort a ‘gathering of antagonists to capital and empire’: Blood for Oil?

Further evidence Blair lied: The Attorney General's advice on the Iraq war.

Now on a national speaking tour: A citizen journalist in Iraq: Dahr Jamail didn’t like the news, so he went out and reported it himself .

An account of Noam Chomsky's vision: Chomsky: It's time to take back our lives.

Spare us! The "antiwar" candidate says stay forever: Dean warns of danger of Iraq pullout. There is there there in the "Democratic" party.

"Now that we're there, we're there and we can't get out.... I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he's there...."
An American pullout could endanger the United States in any of three ways, Dean said: by leaving a Shiite theocracy worse than that in Iran, which he called a more serious threat than Iraq ever was; by creating an independent Kurdistan in the north, with destabilizing effects on neighboring Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iran and Syria, and by making the Sunni Triangle a magnet for Islamic terrorists similar to the former Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. "That's where Al Qaida will set up," he said. [In other words, allowing any form of Iraqi self-determination is a mortal danger to the US and must be avoided.]

What is "terrorism" depends on target -Italy judge.

Militants who attack military or state targets, even with suicide bombers, cannot be considered terrorists in times of war or occupation, an Italian judge said in a ruling released on Thursday.

Michael Scheuer: Deliberately Destroying America's Soul.

As the president and his aides expand the Bush-family-spawned democracy-krieg, they are also preparing the world's strongest, smartest, most decent, and best-trained military to be shock troops. Ignorant of America, contemptuous of other cultures, and driven by the fantasy that our liberties depend on those of others, the new Wilsonians will use our sons and daughters to teach all peoples, in all cultures, at all times, and in all places to "elect good men." This is a recipe for war in each place we decide to "help...." [O]ur soldiers and Marines will be transformed by this ignorant crew from the protectors of the United States to the bloody – and blooded – imposers of a brand of democratic orthodoxy that brooks no opposition based on others' history, culture, or faith, and is eager to teach democracy with the sword.

The haven't forgotten, or forgiven, the lies or the killing: The spectre of Iraq haunts Labour from East End to the Western Isles. And: Ex-Labour supporter tells PM she's lost trust in him.

Jihad Al Khazen: Ayoon Wa Azan (A Spelling Mistake).

In English, the difference between the names of Iraq and Iran is one letter, which led the comedian Ali G to ask the former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker whether it is possible for the United States to attack Iraq while intending Iran. I recall that Baker denied the possibility of such an error but I am not sure anymore.

Efraim Halevy: The coming Pax Americana.

The shapers of the basic political approach of the Bush administration say that the United States plans "to be in the area" for as long as 10 years and more, if needed. Speaking in a semi-closed forum during a visit to Israel a few months ago, Bill Kristol, one of the most influential "neocons" (neoconservatives) in the United States, noted in this connection that the American presence in Europe after World War II lasted for nearly 60 years. Israelis who are trying to promote a role for NATO in the region, in one form or another, are actually promoting a generation-long American presence.

Canada Urged to Give U.S. Army Deserters Shelter.

Simon Jenkins sees uncanny parallels: Suez and Iraq, two of a kind.

Hegel bids us learn from the mistakes of history, but offers no guidance as to which bits of history are mistakes. The parallels between Suez and Iraq are astonishingly seductive. But just as Eden could mistakenly cite Hitler during Suez, so we should be chary in citing Suez in Iraq. Both were “optional” wars. The first was a disaster, destroying Eden and leaving the canal closed for 20 years. The second is still a matter of heated debate.

Muwaffaq Rifai: De-nationalising Iraq. There are many forces seeking to Lebanonise Iraq.

Iraqi paper says Kuwait halts publication for criticizing US.

Baltimore Sun: The irregulars.

Baathists can remain in the civil service, [Mr. Talabani] believes, but put a gun in their hands? No way. Others in the new government say: No former Baathists. Anywhere. Period.
This leaves the United States as virtually the sole champion of people who took an active part in enforcing the rule of one of the cruelest and most ruthless political parties in history. These are the people, Americans are now led to believe, who were the reason for the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, because they stood in the way of democracy. Now Washington is counting on them to defend democracy. Sadly, it makes a certain sort of sense. But formerly totalitarian societies that try to muddle along without making some effort to pursue justice and reconciliation have not been notably successful. The former officers of Saddam Hussein are useful as men, but as symbols to the rest of the country they are poisonous.

Listen, before it's too late: Father of slain Marine cautions Mexican students against migrating, enlisting.

A Canadian view: Our pensions are financing their war.

Sydney H. Schanberg thinks it's: A Time for Disobedience: Faced with Bush's lockdown on information, reporters have to stand up.

Igor Volsky analyzes the role of the US and international monetary institutions in maintaining US control at the expense of the people of the world: Uncle Sam Would Be a Good Used Car Salesman: How America maintains its hegemony military and economically.

Omer Taspinarof the US-Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution on the Kurds' role in the new Iraq: Risks and promises in the new Iraq.

Should U.S. Troops Withdraw Now From Iraq? A Debate Between Naomi Klein & Erik Gustafson.

Lakshmi Chaudhry has a fantasy that the US could, somehow, be a force for freedom and democracy, if only... Rethinking Iraq.

The first order of business for the anti-war movement, therefore, must be to recover its moral footing by becoming a pro-democracy movement. We must take the president at his word and force him to deliver on the promise of freedom.

Gallup Finds 53% Feel Iraq War Not Worth It; Will Media Probe Why? takes on a Democrat who voted to screw the American people: Moving on Democrats.

At last: California Democratic Party Calls for Withdrawal from Iraq. Read the resolution.

US helps Syrian-Turkish relations: Syria loves Ankara but will the relationship last?

Turkey and Syria are coming together because of shared concerns about U.S. policy in the region. Still, whether such courtship will turn into a more permanent alliance remains to be seen.

Who's the real winner? The waxing of the Shi'ite crescent.

The new horror turning all creation to destruction: Robotic troops symbolic of U.S. attitude in Iraq.

But the news that combat robots are the next big thing depresses me. ``A robot shall neither harm nor kill a human,'' says Article 13 of the imaginary Robot Law instituted by the late cartoonist Osamu Tezuka when he created ``Tetsuwan Atomu'' (Astro Boy) half a century ago. The late science fiction writer Isaac Asimov also described his Three Laws of Robotics, the first of which begins: ``A robot must never harm human beings.''

Robert Parry: John Bolton & the Battle for Reality.

Iraqi sociologist Faleh Jabar sees the insurgency on the wane: Trajectory of violence.

Shhh! It's the Basil Fawlty election

Iran joins Iraq and the US in opposing a free press: Iran Bans Al-Jazeera Reporters.

Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift: Iraq’s new government cannot succeed.

Jonathan Freedland: War: the great unknown among election issues.

Only so many lies he can stomach: Labour Veteran Quits Party over Iraq War. And: BBC ex-boss to vote for Liberal Democrats.

[Labour Veteran:] “I was not prepared to vote Labour through gritted teeth.
[BBC:] "I could not vote for a Labour party with Tony Blair as its leader," Dyke said.

Bolton frequently withheld information and lied about it. Just the kind of guy Bush admires: Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say: Iran, IAEA Matters Were Allegedly Kept From Rice, Powell.

Bolton's time at the State Department under Rice has been brief. But authoritative officials said Bolton let her go on her first European trip without knowing about the growing opposition there to Bolton's campaign to oust the head of the U.N. nuclear agency.

More on that delightful little man, John Bolton, from a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has, of course, been totally ignored: Horrifying, personal John Bolton story.

He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not)....
As a maligned whistleblower, I've learned firsthand the lengths Mr. Bolton will go to accomplish any goal he sets for himself. Truth flew out the window. Decency flew out the window. In his bid to smear me and promote the interests of his client, he went straight for the low road and stayed there.
John Bolton put me through hell -- and he did everything he could to intimidate, malign and threaten not just me, but anybody unwilling to go along with his version of events. His behavior back in 1994 wasn't just unforgivable, it was pathological.

Robert Fisk: Our presidents and prime ministers are poseurs. Where are the Great Men of today?

Are there any great men in the Middle East? And, are there any great men in the world today? Where — this is a question I’ve been asked by several readers recently — are the Churchills, the Roosevelts, the Trumans, the Eisenhowers, the Titos, the Lloyd Georges, the Woodrow Wilsons, the de Gaulles and Clemenceaus? Our present band of poseur presidents and prime ministers cannot come close. Bush may think he is Churchill — remember all that condemnation of Chamberlain’s 1938 appeasement we had to suffer before we invaded Iraq? — but he cannot really compare himself to his dad, let alone our Winston....
Nelson Mandela would be among my candidates for all the obvious reasons (his objections to Bush not being the least of them). Nurse Edith Cavell — “patriotism is not enough” — who was shot by the Germans in World War I, and Margaret Hassan, the supremely brave and selfless charity worker butchered in Iraq, must be in my list — proving, of course, that we should also ask: Where are the Great Women of our age? Rachel Corrie, I’d say, the American girl who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer as she stood in its path to protect Palestinian homes in Gaza. And how about Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower? And yes, all the humble folk — little people, if you like — who did what they did, whatever the cost, not because they sought greatness, but because they believed it was the right thing to do.

Secret Agent: Rumsfeld Sneaks Off to Baku -- Unreported in U.S. press, he stalks oil and Iran in Azerbaijan

While The US moves toward theocracy: Iran liberalises laws on abortion. And, more generally: Iran eases its social strictures.

Clark U. pays $40,000 to war criminal: Bremer’s Invitation is a Scandal.

"We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost." -- Cincinnati Business Courier, L. Bremer III February 23, 2003

Where's the mass antiwar movement? The latest polls show Bush's Iraq policy even more unpopular than he is: Public Opinion Watch. Of course, as usual, the so-called Democratic Party still overwhelmingly supports that war rejected by the majority of our citizens.

On Iraq, by 69-24, voters think it's important for the Bush administration to have a clear plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and, by 59-29, they think the Bush administration doesn't have one....
In addition, by 55-29 (61-22 among independents), voters say Democrats should "provide a balance" to make sure Bush and the Republicans don't go too far with their agenda, rather than "work in a bipartisan way" with Republicans to help pass Bush's legislative priorities and avoid gridlock.

Danny Schechter comments on various aspects of the current situation: Iraq's Spring Offensive?

President Bush reportedly apologized to Italian President Berlusconi when he was in Rome for the Pope's funeral. For the killing of Calipari, but not for the wounding of Giuliana.

Nihal B. Karaca: Dictionary of Colonizing Consciousness.

Bolton right choice, says Minhaj Qidwai: John Bolton: The Right Choice for US in UN.

The UN, ceased to exist on moral grounds, the day US walked in Iraq. Mr. Bolton will further cement this, with his nomination and presence in the UN. Mr. Bolton will be the De-facto Secretary General of United Nation; while Mr. Kofi Annan be the Secretary General of the UN under his command. Mr. John Bolton has been described as a hard working person, focused on the US interests. Therefore, are we about to witness the fading of United Nations in the books of history, and the dawn of United States Nation?

Newly released documents show yet again that the administration was plain out lying. No "intelligence" failure here, except in the White House: Reports undercut Iraq, al-Qaeda link.

Mr. Tact tells the native how to behave: Rumsfeld offers advice to Iraq … and offends its new PM.

The real WMD: Warming as risky as weapons, says Blix.

Naomi Klein: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

Brian Cloughley: Boorish Bolton and Arrogant Rice: Diplomacy, Bush Style.

Bush owes Bolton big time: John Bolton vs. Democracy.

"I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count." Those were the words John Bolton yelled as he burst into a Tallahassee library on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, where local election workers were recounting ballots cast in Florida's disputed presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Annan says US and UK allowed Iraqi oil scam: Western allies deny turning blind eye to smuggling by Saddam.

Joshua Frank: Support the Troops, Oppose Their Actions: Coming to terms with a complex reality.

So how then can the antiwar movement oppose war, and yet claim to "support our troops?" Indeed we must oppose our troops' actions....
Supporting our troops while opposing their actions may seem contradictory. Even so, on a human level, the antiwar movement needs to deal with the fact that people are complex and contradictory beings, and that is why our support for the troops implies dealing with the soldiers as human beings.

Rep. Jim McGovern visits la la land: What I Didn't See in Iraq.

Sidney Blumenthal: A test of cognitive dissonance: If Bolton is confirmed, it will be because senators believe that the evidence making him unfit for the U.N. job, unearthed at their own hearings, is false.

Michael Tomasky: Bush Is Tanking.

Alan Bisbort: A Walking Corpse: Absolute Republican power corrupts absolutely.

says that Negroponte should have no trouble recognizing terrorists. He just needs to look in the mirror: We must not move on: Given his record in Honduras, John Negroponte should have no difficulty spotting terrorists.

I am reminded of that wonderful perception by the American philosopher John Dewey who once said: "If you want to establish some conception of a society, go find out who is in gaol." Perhaps, in these times, it should be updated by adding "...and who obtains high office...."
Torturers are on the march; some have muscle and plastic gloves, others have expensive educations to chip away at legal convention, and most insidious of all, the wordsmiths, who "soften up" public opinion with "sleep manipulation".

Dream on: Wolfowitz May Have to Buck Bush at World Bank, Wolfensohn Says.

As head of the World Bank, Wolfowitz may have to decide whether to support programs that counter U.S. policy, such as continuing to make loans to Iran, one of three nations President George W. Bush labeled an "Axis of Evil."

In British elections: Low turnout might not be a sign of apathy but disgust.

If turnout does not bounce back in 2005, it will be because of disgust rather than apathy or complacency. Trust in Mr Blair has collapsed. Iraq provided the key test of trustworthiness. Before the Iraq war the public was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on issues of trust. Iraq was important not just in itself, but also because it triggered a re-evaluation of other issues.... . If they had a "none of the above" or "against all" option on the ballot paper - as in Russia - they might turn out to cast that vote. Principled abstention would be a new kind of abstention in Britain, much more damaging to the legitimacy of the election than the alleged but largely non-existent apathy

Jihad Al Khazen claims vindication: Ayoon Wa Azan (I've Got Paid!).

Major international terrorist seeks asylum inUS: Terrorist sneaks across U.S. border.

Karel von Wolferen states what many feel: Failure in Iraq needed to discredit war policy.

The United States must fail in Iraq. It is a thought that lies deep in the minds of many Europeans and rarely expressed openly. We may find such a defeat terrible, but at the same time necessary. There is an inescapable logic to it: If the United States does not fail, other countries amassing power may in the future believe that they too have the option to start ``preventive wars.'' This means that the world will return to the laws of the jungle. To prevent such a horrible development the world must see it demonstrated, once and for all, that disaster befalls even the strongest country if it does not recognize international rules....
The real immediate global challenge that Europeans cannot escape from much longer is the question of how to contain the United States, and help protect it against itself. This challenge is something that they share with Japanese, and something in which cooperation would not be such a bad idea. Failure in Iraq-but clearly understood to be such by the whole world-will be a first necessity.

Terry Jones: Let them eat bombs: The doubling of child malnutrition in Iraq is baffling.

A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now. This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations....
hese results are even more disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since the previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi children also proved disappointing....
And this is why we at the department are appealing to you - the general public - for ideas. If you can think of any other military techniques that we have so far failed to apply to the children of Iraq, please let us know as a matter of urgency.

Jonathan Steele: Don't be fooled by the spin on Iraq: The US is failing - and hatred of the occupation greater than ever.

Anthony H. Cordesman: Outside view: America's failures in Iraq.

Kevin B. Zeese: The Time to Oppose the Draft Is Now.

Most Britons believe war was wrong: Iraq War Was Wrong For Many Britons.

Middle East democracy could be a mirage: Resolution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is key.

Another representative says enough: Delahunt backs Iraq pullout.

Michael T. Klare discusses the role of oil in the US attitude toward Iran: Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran.

War off the front pages as American people turn against it: Pope TV and the New World Media.

Comments by Cindy Sheehan, a member of Gold Star Families For Peace: Murderous Thugs!

Jihad Al Khazen: Ayoon Wa Azan (They do not see their own faults).

Solemn stance against war in Iraq: Vet’s Hall gathering honors fallen soldiers, civilians.

Absent Sunday were the militaristic symbols and rituals that accompany most American V.F.W. ceremonies....
"Let’s elect leaders who will solve conflicts, not create more conflicts," urged Meghan Hunt, a member of the Aptos High School Peace Club, during a series of anti-war speeches.

Curt Terrall, a member of Juneau People for Peace and Justice: My Turn: America's oil dependency drives the war in Iraq.

Many U.S. citizens also seem willing to sell their children's future by sending them to war to ensure that the feeding tube of our addiction keeps flowing. Those familiar with the psychology of addiction know that the junkie lives in denial. In the extreme a mother will sell her offspring for a fix. As a nation, our youth are sold into war. More bizarre, our country sells weaponry to those that may one day use it against those same soldiers. Profits and politics are obscuring common sense.

Turtles can fly wins audience award: Iraq refugee camp drama wins film award.

Ghali Hassan: Democracy Or Colonial Dictatorship.

British war profiteer can't stand the heat: Iraq war firm asks for bar on protests.

Rep Jim Jeffords says about Iraq war: “I think it was all done to get oil,” Jeffords said of invading Iraq. “And the loss of life that we had, and the cost of it, was to me just a re-election move, and they're going to try to live off it. Probably start another war, wouldn't be surprised, next year. Probably in Iran.” Jeffords' Theory. With a willingness to speak out like that, it's no surprise he's not a Democrat.

“I probably shouldn't even talk on it, I just feel so bitter about the thinking that's gone on behind them, and the reasons they go to war and went to war,” Jeffords replied. “But I feel very strongly that they are looking ahead, and that there will be an opportunity to go into Iran and try to get their son elected president. I don't know, but you do it each time they (are) going to have a new president. I’m very, very (Jeffords chuckles). Oh, well, I better be quiet.”

Jihad Al Khazen discusses the Oil-for-Food report: Ayoon Wa Azan (A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?)

Democracy is needed now, Arab intellectuals conclude.

Joseph E. Stiglitz says: Democracy should begin in US.

A major insurgent attack, with about 40 US casualties is largely ignored and misreported by the US press: Bad News Bears Go Into Hibernation.

Further evidence the Republicans are tanking. Fortunately, they have the Democratic Party to rescue them: Poll: Bush Standing With Public Weakening.

George Monbiot sks what all the hand-wringing is about. The World Bank remains, as it always has been an agent of US foreign policy: I'm with Wolfowitz: Liberal handwringing over the World Bank simply reflects a failure to recognise the role it exists to fulfil.

From the perspective of the world's poor, there has never been a good president of the World Bank....
Except for the language in which US demands are articulated, little has changed. In the meeting last Thursday at which Wolfowitz's nomination was confirmed, the bank's executive directors decided to approve the construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos. This will flood 6,000 people out of their homes, damage the livelihoods of a further 120,000, destroy a critical ecosystem and produce electricity not for the people of Laos but for their richer neighbours in Thailand. It will also generate enormous construction contracts for western companies. The decision was made not on Wolfowitz's watch but on that of the current president, James Wolfensohn. There will be little practical difference between the two wolves. The problem is not the bank's management but its board, which is dominated by the US, the UK and the other rich nations....
Wolfowitz's appointment is a good thing for three reasons. It highlights the profoundly unfair and undemocratic nature of decision-making at the bank. His presidency will stand as a constant reminder that this institution, which calls on the nations it bullies to exercise "good governance and democratisation" is run like a medieval monarchy.

War maker in trouble: Labour is hit by lack of trust in Blair.

The BBC presents the views of 10 Iraqis: In pictures: Iraqi lives two years after Saddam

A new PIPA poll finds a majority around the world want Europe to lead: Global opinion: Let Europe lead the world. Read the PIPA Press Release: In 20 of 23 Countries Polled Citizens Want Europe to Be More Influential Than US and the: Full Report.

Among the people surveyed in 23 countries, 58 percent said Europe becoming more influential than America in world affairs would be "mainly positive." The highest number was in Spain, with 81 percent. Germany followed with 79 percent. In contrast, only 34 percent of Americans said they favored a more powerful role for Europe than the United States. Instead, more than half said they thought European over U.S. prominence would be mainly negative. The United States edged out Russia as the country with the most negative influence on world affairs, with 15 countries saying it has a negative influence versus the 14 countries that viewed Russia negatively. France was seen most positively, with the majority of people in 21 countries saying it had a positive influence.

Leading Evangelical questions Blair's actions over Iraq.

Ilana Mercer: About a Boy who died in basic training:

In Valerie Plame case, leaker will get off, but reporters may still get jail: Papers Say Leak Probe Is Over.

Congress feigns surprise that it was lied to [before US election]: Officials Ask Why Iraq Details Surface Now.

Conservatives attack Pulitzer Prize for not being awarded to pro-US propaganda: AP Calls Criticism of Pulitzer Win for Photos 'Deeply Offensive'.

'The AP's crime? In so many words, they are guilty of showing the conflict in Iraq the way that it is, and not the way that the conservative blogosphere wishes that it were. The right wants those pictures of rose pedals and liberation parades that Dick Cheney promised them three years ago, and now they're mad they didn't get them....'
According to a count by The Jawa Report site, “11 of the 20 photos would likely cause anti-American inflammation. Only two show Americans in a positive light.” By a count on another blog, called Riding Sun, three photos reveal U.S. troops “looking overwhelmed or uncertain,” two showed “Iraqis celebrating attacks on U.S. forces,” and zero featured U.S. forces “looking heroic....”
Powerline called the award a "Pulitzer Prize for felony murder...."
As for possible political bias of the Pulitzer judges: They hailed from a hardly liberal group of papers (The Washington Times, The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.) plus the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Democracy Now! interviews Jim Paul and Michael Klare: Blood and Oil: The Rising Cost of Domination.

A. P. Short calls for a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party: They Want War.

The problems that conservative Democrats have with Bush are and always have been fairly trivial. They balk at how he does things, not what he does. They are afraid that his unserious approach to governing and his lack of concern with the consequences of his actions are bad for business. In 2002 and 2004, when the Liebermans and the Bidens and, yes, the Harry Reids of the world pleaded with the party base for unity in the face of an awesome, unique threat from a radical right-wing regime bent on revolutionary reorganization of our country's basic commitments to human rights, democracy, and equality, they were merely giving lip service to something they knew we believed, and which they did not, and never will.
These men have decided now that we, the roots of the tree, should go back underground where we belong, and let them get on with their important business. Their assumption is that the Democratic party has, by some magical process, become what they have always wanted it to be - a Big Blue Money Machine, rolling on toward some great payday for them and their friends, one day soon when the Republican gravy train runs out of steam, all in due course.

The Pope: Pope felt 'deep anguish' as Bush went to war despite his urgings; Derrick Z. Jackson: A pope of peace and Bush's war; and: Conservatives distort papal legacy on Iraq war.

"I lived through World War II and I survived the Second World War. For this reason I have the duty to say 'never again war'," John Paul II said days before the invasion....
n May 2004 the pope made another critical statement after the revelations of torture in Baghdad of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers, though without referring to them specifically. "From all continents come endless, disturbing information about the human rights situation, revealing that men, women and children are being tortured and their dignity being made a mockery of. ... It is all of humanity which has been wounded and ridiculed," he said.

Robin Shepherd of the Center for Strategic and International Studies questions whether Iraqi national unity is a reasonable goal: Europe lessons for Iraqi democracy. See also: Brussels Model for Kerkuk Full of Obstacles.

But the other truth about those elections is that Iraqis did not vote as Iraqis at all. Kurds voted for Kurds. Sunnis, sort of, voted for Sunnis. Shiites voted for Shiites. The party system fractured on ethnic lines. It is not just Iraq. Forthcoming elections in Lebanon will be conducted in the same way. Shiite will vote for Shiite. Druze for Druze and so on. Even Czechoslovakia, a country with no history of ethnic strife between Czechs and Slovaks, could not hold together for long once that had happened.
The recent experience of democracy-building in Europe has shown with great clarity that democracy needs a demos -- a unified sense of belonging, a shared political culture, a common and unbreakable belief that the fate of one is entangled with the fate of all. To put it bluntly: no Yugoslav demos, no Yugoslavia. So no Iraqi demos, no Iraq?

New poll: Half of Americans say Bush deliberately misled about Iraq. See poll results for question 18: "Do you think the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, or not?" Yes, deliberately misled: 50%, No, did not: 48%. 53% (vs. 45%) also say the war wasn't worth it: USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll results.

A witness for two years: Humanitarian Worker in Iraq Says Things Have Gotten Worse.

Robert Parry says: CIA 'Reform' Rings Hollow.

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Hoffman of Iraq Veterans Against the War to speak in Georgia: Anti-war Iraq vet to bring message: Speeches sponsored by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.

Another warmonger chastened at polls: Voters Maul Italy's Berlusconi

Resistance and possible consequences: 101st soldier returns home, then disappears: Iraq war veteran listed as deserter. While: Body of Dissident Soldier's Widow Found - Homicide Suspected.

Press admits hiding reality of war: Survey: U.S. media censors Iraq reporting.

This Seattle Times editorial asks a key question: After reported intelligence failures: Whom do we believe now?

Released by UN: Arab Report Sees Little Reform, Faults U.S. Action.

A foreign perspective on the US Intelligence report: Outside View: Is U.S. wrong on the Mideast.

Shibley Telhami: The Iraq war has only set back Middle East reform.

In a survey I conducted last year (with Zogby International) in six Arab countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates), the vast majority of Arabs did not believe that American policy in Iraq was motivated by the spread of democracy in the region. Even more troubling, most people believed the Middle East became less democratic after the Iraq war, and that Iraqis were worse off than they had been before the war.

John R. MacArthur: Iraq war coverage reminds me of Vietnam.

The eternal struggle for the Republican soul continues. Scowcroft talks the democratic tango, while arguing for "realism": "Realism is Taking Hold in Washington".

Former US National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft discusses democratic change in the Middle East and improved cooperation with the Europeans. He says President Bush is learning from his mistakes and that Europe and the United States must work together.

It's compromise or disaster, says Sami Moubayed , a Syrian political analyst: A gentleman's agreement in Iraq.

So far, those to show the highest wisdom have been the Shi'ites, who have repeated their calls for calm, democracy and cooperation with all in the post-Saddam order. They are seconded by the Sunnis, who, after a misguided decision to boycott the January elections, have finally plunged themselves back into the political system, shaking off accusations that they were beneficiaries of Saddam's regime. Last on the list, alas, because of their wild ambitions, are the Kurds.

More on Stan Goff's criticism of Operation Truth and other organizations he sees as Trojan horses to weaken the antiwar movement: Opportunity and Opportunist in the Democratic Party. And: Building a movement to bring down an empire.

William O'Rourke: Bush aiming to remake Iraq as a free-market paradise.

Liberals and neocons barely distinguishable. Only difference is how to build the empire: Cold Fusion: Liberals and Neocons for a Draft.

The debate over the size of the military inside-the-beltway is how to increase the number of troops by 100,000, not whether to do so. At a recent debate on the draft sponsored by the Center for American Progress, the views range from reinstating the draft to enhancing economic incentives to increase enlistment.

John Prados: Whitewashing Manipulation.

If you saw President George W. Bush the other day and thought he looked relieved as he publicly acceped the conclusions of the commission he had set up to examine U.S. intelligence on the Iraq war, you were exactly right. The event marked the end of a perilous journey for Bush, in which he had set out to neutralize the public's belief that he and other senior officials had deliberately manipulated U.S. intelligence on Iraq to obtain authority to wage aggressive war against another country.

Stereotypes feed American blood lust: Where’s the Outrage?

The more people understand that the Middle East is differentiated and complex, the less likely it is that someone will fearlessly state, "Bomb Them Towelheads."s

Karen Kwiatkowski: Just Say No ... to Empire.

Walter C. Uhler: How to Interpret the Critique of America's Intelligence Community, Commissioned by the Bush Administration.

Given that most of its conclusions had already been reached in the July 2004 Senate Select Committee Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, it's what Samuel Johnson would have called a "foolish thing well done."

Will Wolfowitz do a good job carrying out the World Bank's mission of screwing the poor of the world, in secret? The world just can't resist an infectious Wolfowitz.

Stan Goff says Operation Truth is a front for the pro-war Democratic Party, a: A Trojan Jackass for the Anti-War Movement and a front to attack the antiwar movement.

Anyone who cares to search Rieckhoff's Operation Truth website, by the way, hungry for a single statement opposing either the invasion or occupation of Iraq will go home with an empty stomach. That's because it is not an antiwar NGO. It is criticizing the conduct of the war and the actions of the Republican administration on veterans benefits in a way calculated to bewilder people into believing it is an ally of the antiwar movement....
They are worried, just like any Democratic Party boss or entrenched union bureaucrat that the left shift in the movement, where a lot of "ordinary" people now seek out and speak with known socialists, will eat into their careerist base. This has always been the motivation for cluster-bomb Democrats....
The left in this movement is not "against" the soldiers. Speaking for myself, I am on the soldier's side, not as a soldier, but as a human being. I encourage all soldiers to resist. I won't conceal the fact that my encouragement of that resistance is aimed at utterly gutting the capacity of that institution to continue operations in the charnel house they've made of Iraq. Because when the institution of the military can no longer occupy other nations and kill their people, then our sons and daughters will quit returning as torn flesh and pain in mobile burn units, wheelchairs, and body bags.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali: Empire's embedded intellectuals, Part I.

Speaking about the objective and role of think tanks, Dr. Bazian believes that the term think tank is often problematic because much thinking is not occurring in these tanks.

Democracy does not mean pushing the US agenda: Pro-democracy and anti-US

To build a democracy in the Middle East, at least some reform movement leaders believe they must paint themselves with anti-American colors. One sign raised in the demonstration in Egypt said, "No to America, Yes to democracy."

Retired senior military officers say: We Can't Remain Silent.

Yet more evidence the American public is FAR to the left of the Democratic Party on many issues: Most Americans Say No Nations Should Have Nuclear Weapons.

Two-thirds of respondents say no nation should have nuclear weapons, including the United States.

John Laughland argues that Eastern Europe is experiencing a wave of US-backed coups, not an assertion of democracy: The mythology of people power: The glamour of street protests should not blind us to the reality of US-backed coups in the former USSR.

Many of the same US government operatives in Latin America have plied their trade in eastern Europe under George Bush, most notably Michael Kozak, former US ambassador to Belarus, who boasted in these pages in 2001 that he was doing in Belarus exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua: "supporting democracy"....
The case of Freedom House is particularly arresting. Chaired by the former CIA director James Woolsey, Freedom House was a major sponsor of the orange revolution in Ukraine. It set up a printing press in Bishkek in November 2003, which prints 60 opposition journals. Although it is described as an "independent" press, the body that officially owns it is chaired by the bellicose Republican senator John McCain, while the former national security adviser Anthony Lake sits on the board. The US also supports opposition radio and TV.
Many of the recipients of this aid are open about their political aims: the head of the US-funded Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, Edil Baisalov, told the New York Times that the overthrow of Akayev would have been "absolutely impossible" without American help. In Kyrgyzstan as in Ukraine, a key element in regime change was played by the elements in the local secret services, whose loyalty is easily bought.

Seymour Hersh: Bush is "Unreachable".

"He believes he won’t be measured by today, but in 5 or 10 years” in terms of the Mideast. With regard to Iraq, “he thinks it’s going well.” Iran, according to Hersh’s contacts, is “teed up.” “This is his mission,” he continued. “What does it mean?...”
Hersh passed along a comment he had picked up that illustrates the level of Bush’s awareness. “You could call Wolfowitz a ‘Trotskyite,’ a permanent revolutionary. Wolfowitz would know what you are talking about. But Bush wouldn’t.”

Yet again, the New York Times ignores its major role in spreading transparently false propaganda in the lead up to the war: NYT & WMD: Profiles In Timidity.

But remarkably, in 6,600 words of news and opinion, the Times does not mention its own much-maligned role in selling the idea that Iraq posed a threat. There is not a single word on that....
There was the September 8, 2002 story about Iraq buying thousands of aluminum tubes "which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium," which also reported that "President Hussein has met repeatedly in recent months with Iraq's top nuclear scientists and, according to American intelligence, praised their efforts as part of his campaign against the West." [And MANY other ridiculous stories that skeptical critics demolished at the time.]

An interview with: Iraq Adviser Diamond: Continued Delay in Forming Iraqi Government May Diminish Public Support for Democracy.

Juan Cole analyzes Busd's press conference, relating Terri Schiavo and the absence of WMD: A Tragic Death and other Tragic Deaths.

And that is why the Iraq war is the perfect symbol for the anti-abortionists. Colonial conquest is always a kind of rape, but now the conquered country must bear the fetus of Bush-imposed "liberty" to term. The hierarchy is thus established. Washington is superior to Baghdad, and Iraq is feminized and deprived of certain kinds of choices.

Maureen Dowd: Intelligence failures preceding Iraq war no laughing matter.

Gov. Chuck Robb and Laurence Silberman, a hard-core conservative appeals-court judge, headed the commission. Unlike Tom Kean, Silberman held secret meetings; he obligingly made sure the unpleasantness wouldn't come up until Bush had won re-election. It is laughable that the report offers its most scorching criticism of the CIA when the CIA was doing what the White House and Pentagon wanted. Isn't that why Tenet was given the Medal of Freedom? (Freedom from facts.)
The hawks don't want to learn any lessons here. If they had to do it again, they'd do it the same way. The imaginary weapons and Osama link were just a marketing tool and shiny distraction, something to keep the public from crying while they went to war for reasons unrelated to any nuclear threat.

Veterans For Peace: Veterans Group Calls on Congress to Impeach George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. To which I say "Amen!"

The pub report: Glasgow girls against Iraq.

This loss of confidence seems largely due to Iraq, and it is hard to find anyone who approves of the ongoing conflict. But it is equally hard to judge how these anti-war feelings will affect the election result....
Yet, for some girls, Iraq was the final straw, leading them to consider other parties. Back at Nice 'n' Sleazy's, Miriam feels that her options are limited, and labels Tories and Labour as "the same thing" and the Liberal Democrats as a party that "doesn't stand a chance". "I'm disillusioned with Labour and disgusted with Iraq and the reaction after 9/11," she says. "I will vote, probably for the Green Party. In terms of what I believe in, the most important thing is the environment."

Ron Jacobs reviews A People's History of Iraq : Workers' Movements and the Left 1923-2004: The Left in Iraq: Rounding Out Iraq's History

Carolyn Eisenberg explains how the US maintains control despite the trappings of democracy: Destiny not in Iraqis' hands: U.S. intervention is to blame for the war-torn country's inability to select its new president.

Paul Craig Roberts: Draft Needed To Bail Out the Cakewalk War.

A detailed, multidimensional assessment of Kurdish demands for Kirkuk: Kirkuk: Between Kurdish Separatism and Iraqi Federalism.

Ward Reilly, a member of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War: All We Want Is The TRUTH.

The truth. It's not too much for a soldier or vet to ask for, particularly when the subject is whether or not our nation goes to war....
"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction[(as justification for invading Iraq], because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Paul Wolfowitz said this, and it might have been the ONLY true statement that the whole administration made.
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