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.

September, 2005

The Occupation

Occupation Resistance Analysis

This is why I don't post all those "we just got Zarqawi’s top XXX" stories: The 'Second' Man: The slain Abu Azzam may not have been Zarqawi’s top deputy after all. Will his death have any effect on the Iraq insurgency?

The daily progress report: Decline in Iraqi Troops' Readiness Cited: Generals Tell Lawmakers They Cannot Predict When U.S. Forces Can Withdraw.

And what does "understand" mean? US trying to understand Iraq insurgency -Negroponte.

Further evidence suggesting US trying to provoke Sunni boycott: US Forces Raid Homes of Sunni Officials. Why else would they raid the most moderate Sunni groups?

2 1/2 years after invasion: US hands over holy Shiite city Karbala to Iraq.

Judge reject ludicrous argument: Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said that terrorists "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that suppressing the pictures would amount to submitting to blackmail.

In the perennial campaign to support the cannon fodder: Pentagon Keeps GIs Waiting For Body Armor Reimbursements.

Al-Sadr neutral on Constitution. Iraq Islamic Party opposed, but won't actively campaign against it: Opposition to Iraqi constitution weakening.

Gareth Porter: Kurdish Voting Shenanigans May Tip Referendum.

In the January election, the Kurds dealt with the problem of being a relatively small minority in the province by stuffing the ballot boxes, as recounted by Maj. Anthony Cruz, an Army reserve civil affairs officer assigned to work with the province electoral commission....
In the constitutional referendum, the Shiite government will share the Kurdish interest in doing whatever is necessary to avert the defeat of the constitution in Nineveh. Meanwhile, the U.S. military remains heavily dependent on Kurds in Nineveh. The KDP may well believe that a more sophisticated Kurdish ballot-stuffing scheme will work on Oct. 15.

War. Life in perpetual fear: Violence scars Iraqi children. And: Living Under Constant Siege in Baghdad.

Propaganda not working: Hughes Gets Earful About Iraq From Turks. See also Sidney Blumenthal: The undersecretary's dangerous trip: Karen Hughes takes her "Innocents Abroad" tour to the Middle East -- and plays into the hands of Osama bin Laden.

Probe into murder pics already closed, hours after it started: Army ends probe on porn site photos of Iraq corpses. See also: Army cancels probe of "war dead for porn" scandal to get a sense of the mildest of the photos in question.

Ex-army officers attack 'chaos' of Iraqi regime.

It was meant to be a moment of reconciliation between the old regime and the new, a gathering of nearly 1,000 former Iraqi army officers and tribal leaders in Baghdad to voice their concerns over today's Iraq. But it did not go as planned. General after general rose to his feet and raised his voice to shout at the way Iraq was being run and to express his fear of escalating war. "They were fools to break up our great army and form an army of thieves and criminals," said one senior officer. "They are traitors," added another.

Gilbert Achar provides the following news and comments on developments in Iraq: Iraq developments — Sept. 28, 2005. Topics discussed include: 1) The Saudi Kingdom and Iraq; 2) Muqtada al-Sadr’s consults Sistani on sectarian violence; and 3) US military campaigns and the forthcoming vote in Iraq. Achcar is one of the few to raise the possibility that the US is deliberately trying to provoke, via its attacks on Tal Afar and other Sunni areas, a Sunni boycott of the Constitutional elections, thus guaranteeing that the Constitution will pass. This would replicate the way the November Falluja attack was used to move the Sunnis to boycott the January elections.

Where are the protests from the US press? Reuters says U.S. troops obstruct reporting of Iraq.

James Glanz: The Twilight World of the Iraqi News Stringer.

Anger Over Food Ration Hitches. Shortages of flour, sugar and other basic goods are blamed on poor security.

Tal Afar Refugees Sheltered in Mosul. Displaced by yet another US offensive, life is difficult for residents of Tal Afar who are once again relying on the kindness of strangers.

Wives Take Revenge as Husbands Forced Out. A new class of homeless has emerged in Sulaimaniyah – men who’ve been kicked out of the marital home.

Iraq Fires British Security Firm guarding airport.

Whitewash? As usual, militarythreatens to prosecute soldiers who reported widespread abuse! Officer Criticizes Detainee Abuse Inquiry.

"I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward," Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he is going through Army Special Forces training. "We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem...."
The report was made public last Friday, and Captain Fishback said investigators had questioned him for about an hour on Monday and again on Tuesday. "They're asking the same questions over and over again," he said. "They want the names of the sergeants, and they keep asking about my relationship with Human Rights Watch."

German court declares Iraq war violated international law.

The court referred to Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter, which classifies "every" threat and use of military force against another nation as an act of aggression. It specifies only two exceptions: a formal resolution of the UN Security Council and for self-defence purposes. Neither of these was the case with Iraq.

When does it become real money? Senate measure would push Iraq, Afghanistan war costs to $400 billion.

Only after public brouhaha: Army Probes Complaints of Corpse Photos.

Another Sunni city to be depopulated? Families flee Samara ahead of planned offensive.

The published constitution is not the one that will actually be voted on. Here's an analysis by Electronic Iraq of some of the differences: Leaked constitution sets scene for foreign bases, sectarian tensions.

Baghdad Neighborhood's Hopes Dimmed by the Trials of War: Some Who Welcomed Americans Now Scorn Them.

In Karrada this summer, Mohammed and the neighborhood watched as American soldiers on patrol grew irritated at an Iraqi who had left his car in the street to run inside a store on an errand, blocking their armored convoy. The Americans took one of the empty plastic water bottles they use to relieve themselves when on patrol, Mohammed said. When the Iraqi driver ran out to move his car, an annoyed American plunked him with the newly filled bottle and rolled on, Mohammed said. "He started crying," Mohammed said of the Iraqi driver, humiliated in front of the neighborhood.
Mohammed, who said he had been one of the happiest people in Karrada to see the Americans when they came in April 2003, retrieved the bottle and handed it to the weeping man. "I said, 'Give this to the Iraqi government,' " Mohammed said. " 'Tell them this is the sovereignty the Americans have brought us....'
Rather than being centrally controlled, the flow of power throughout Iraq is allocated by switches at hundreds of substations across the country, the U.S. official said. Without a strong central government to enforce compliance, substations at times balk at sharing electricity, and the Shiite Muslim south and Kurdish north cut the flow to Baghdad. As a result, the official said, not only are Baghdad's homes and businesses robbed of power but the city's leaky water system continually runs dry and its purification plants face contamination.

Is the green Zone or Red Zone safer: Red Means Go and Green Means Stop.

Recruiting killers around the globe: Honduras: Iraq mercenaries recruited.

Ridiculous argument rejected: Gitmo Judge Rejects Claim He's Interfering.

As new revelations occur almost daily: Calls Mount for Prisoner Abuse Commission.

So much for the "elected" government. the occupier asserts control: Britain will scrap and replace police force in Basra: But a majority of Britons now want Blair to issue a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

Sending good after bad: US Senate panel clears $50 billion for Iraq war.

Imprison the messenger: Second Reuters cameraman in Iraq held without charge.

few doctors, few ambulances: Ambulances Scarce in Iraq: Help Almost Never Arrives for Injured.

Heads I lose, tails I lose: Iraq Constitution Fight Not Without Hope.

[T]he constitution vote three weeks from now still carries the potential to further destabilize Iraq, no matter which way it goes. Approval may prove a pill too bitter for Sunni Arabs to swallow, but rejection could throw the political process back a year and complicate America's exit strategy. Either outcome is likely to fuel the insurgency and many fear that sectarian violence will grow.

Generals trying to extricate themselves from catastrophes created by ignorant politicians: A Shift on Iraq: The Generals Plan a Slow Exit.

[T]he Centcom chief, Gen. John Abizaid, gathered his top generals here for what he called a "commanders' huddle." They described a military approach that's different, at least in tone, from what the public perceives. For the commanders, Iraq isn't an endless tunnel. They are planning to reduce U.S. troop levels over the next year to a force that will focus on training and advising the Iraqi military. They don't want permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. Indeed, they believe such a high-visibility American presence will only make it harder to stabilize the country....
The goal over the next decade is a smaller, leaner, more flexible U.S. force in the Middle East -- one that can help regional allies rather than trying to fight an open-ended American war that would be a recruiting banner for al Qaeda....
President Bush and other administration officials continue to speak about Iraqi democracy in glowing terms, but you don't hear similar language from the military. After watching Iraqi political infighting for more than two years, they're more cautious. "I think we'd be foolish to try to build this into an American democracy," says one general. "It's going to take a very different form and character." The military commanders have concluded that because Iraqis have such strong cultural antibodies to the American presence, the World War II model of occupation isn't relevant. They've sharply lowered expectations for what America can accomplish.

Missteps Hamper Iraqi Oil Recovery. Efforts to fix facilities founder. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost as fields deteriorate.

Another of "our brave girls" takes the fall: Lynndie England Convicted Of Iraqi Prisoner Abuse.

US generals cite Tal Afar as a model for their future plans. What is that model? Tal Afar Residents Return to Ghost City, Razed Homes.

"After walking more than 10 kilometers, we failed to find our home because the entire neighborhood was brought to rubble...."
The US-Iraqi troops imposed a complete media blackout on the Tal Afar operation.

Why were they held? 1000 Abu Ghraib inmates to be freed.

Oh, so that's the problem. It hurts the US "image." This is what passes for "morality" in Washington today: McCain: Prisoner abuse hurts U.S. image. No, it improves the US image, so that the rest of the world can correctly see US. After all, all the leaders involved in promoting torture were promoted, including our Attorney General.

An American hero tried for over a year to report terrible abuse through channels. Stonewalled at every turn, he finally went outside: Officer's Road Led Him Outside Army. See also HRW press release: New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops: Soldiers Say Failures by Command Led to Abuse ; and full report: Leadership Failure: Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

What happens in a country without doctors? Medics fleeing Iraq's violence in their thousands.

Iraqi women say freedoms are slipping away as the veil spreads.

Iraq Sunnis Urge Charter Block, Mull Civil Disobedience .

The Shiia south contains most of Iraq's riches: Up for Grabs: The Shiite Keystone of Iraq.

British had ignored creeping Islamization: 30 months on, Iraq is still engulfed in flames.

Robert Fisk: When nature and man conspire to expose the lies of the powerful, the truth will out. What we were actually doing in Basra was to turn a blind eye on abuse, murder and anarchy.

This idiot runs a country? Iraq insurgents' ferocity wasn't expected, Blair says.

Escape from the Gulag? How Ashes triumph could save the 'last Brit' in Guantanamo.

New claim about what undercover British troops were up to in Basra: SAS in secret war against Iranian agents. But why would Iranians supply bombs to opponents of the most pro-Iranian regime possible in Iraq? It doesn't add up. Sounds more like British propaganda. The article does sound like the soldiers may have been a death squad, which would help explain why the Brits were so anxious to remove them from Iraqi custody.

If about 20,000 "insurgents" have been killed, into whose bodies do all the other bullets go? US forced to import bullets from Israel as troops use 250,000 for every rebel killed.

What was going on in Basra? So what were two undercover British soldiers up to in Basra?

Occupiers protect criminals: Judge in Basra reissues warrants to arrest two British soldiers.

Captain tried to report repeated abuse and torture to superiors for 17 months and was rebuffed. Now that it's public, the Pentagon launched one of them "investigations" they're so good at: 3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine. See also Time's account: Pattern of Abuse. A decorated Army officer reveals new allegations of detainee mistreatment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did the military ignore his charges?

The truth shall not be heard! Robert Fisk barred from US: US bars Robert Fisk from entering country.

Report: Britain to pull troops from Iraq as Blair says 'don't force me out'. Withdrawal allegedly to start in May.

Tony Blair says "get lost" to antiwar critics: Defiant PM says: I'll face down Iraq protesters.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time: Bush plea for cash to rebuild Iraq raises $600 .

Iraqis identify with Cindy Sheehan too: American Mother Has Iraqi Audience.

Now on the streets of Baghdad, Najaf and Mosul, even ordinary Iraqis have heard of Cindy Sheehan and formed opinions about her and her movement. "I sympathize with her and her cause, but I don't think that the American administration will be affected by such a thing," said Hassan Hashim Mahmoud, a 32-year-old government employee in Najaf.

Support Our Troops? Brother in critical condition? So what, get on the plane back to Iraq, now! Family gives to country, gets little in return.

"If he is under the impression that the train is on the tracks and he is not going to deploy, he's probably wrong," said George Heath, a public affairs officer with Fort Campbell, Ky. "Uncle Sam is paying big bucks for this plane."

British play down demands for apology over Basra.

The British military: Taking a screwdriver to the truth.

Al-Sistani tells Iraqis how to vote: Powerful Cleric backs Iraq Constitution.

Soldiers reports indiscriminate fire killed many civilians: Soldier's chilling testimony fuels demonstrations against Iraq war.

So much for risking death to vote: Iraq's democracy dilemma: Iraq's parliament is stifled by back-room deals and lack of attendance, members say.

Collective punishment and creating enemies: US military wields carrots, sticks in Iraq.

Something improving: Power supply improves in the capital.

For a week now, the city has had more controlled outages, with power on and off every three hours. Previously power was available for just two hours daily.

The great flight as partition spreads: Ethnic violence divides neighbors in Baghdad.

Indeed, some government officials concede that insurgents, mainly Sunnis, are controlling parts of Baghdad. ``Civil war today is closer than any time before,'' said Hazim Abdel Hamid al-Nuaimi, a professor of politics at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. ``All of these explosions, the efforts by police and purging of neighborhoods is a battle to control Baghdad.''

US troops detain police chief north of Baghdad.

Thanks to "coalition": Radical roots take hold in southern Iraq.

Honor killings an accepted practice in Iraq's tribal society.

A very ominous development as civil war progresses: Shiites fleeing Sunni dominated neighborhoods of Baghdad.

Must Read! Web site glorifies murdering Iraqis: Which one is the pornographer? Actual site: Pictures From Iraq And Afghanistan - Gory. [Warning! Many of these pictures are as horrifying as the beheading videos, illustrating the same sensibility.] How can anyone view these and maintain that the US should stay?

NTFU offers a picture depicting what's left of the head of a man shot with a .50-caliber weapon next to the words "I'm just here to masturbate" and above an ad for a Web site offering video of a mother and her daughter in a three-way sex act.

Sadr Spokesman Accuses Zarqawi of Dividing Shi'ites.

Another looming catastrophe: UN food program sounds alarm on Iraq.

This time, the US may want to reduce voter turnout: Sunnis Urge Action to Block Constitution. Full participation in the referendum seen as the best way to vote down a document many Sunnis object to.

Yet another: Iraqi editor slain in Mosul, continuing a deadly trend of three journalists killed in four days.

CNN Sideshow of Basra fight;

British troops have had enough: Message From Our Troops: It's Time to Come Home. Don't waste any more British lives say the heroes facing bombs and bullets every day.

The question of training the Iraqi Police Service - the IPS - is a sensitive one among the soldiers because in some cases it is tantamount to training the enemy. Several members are under investigation by British intelligence officers and Iraqi security forces for aiding the murder of our soldiers... including the three who died in Basra in the last two weeks. Rogue policemen act as the eyes and ears for terrorists tipping them off about the movements of British patrols, helping ensure attacks are well-timed and deadly.

Angry Iraqis Denounce British 'Aggression'.

Displaced families return to devastated Talafar.

Since the fighting started, no humanitarian organisations have been authorised to enter the city. The IRCS said it had now been allowed to send its disaster team to Talafar on 23 September to make a detailed study of the situation. "They have been delaying our entrance inside Talafar to prevent [us from seeing] the reality and destruction that the city has suffered during this fighting, even the death toll has not been reported yet," al-Abadi added.

reluctant heroes: Midwives Risk Baghdad Curfew: Sometimes the timing is all wrong for expectant mothers, when a nighttime dash to hospital means running the gauntlet of security checks

Mosul Plagued by Pollution: Disease and death linked to polluted water sources and the rubbish left lying on the streets.

It's election time: Karzai Urges Shift in Strategy: Afghan Doubts Military Focus.

What are they doing in New Orleans? Whistleblowers' stomach-curdling story: Halliburton serves contaminated water to troops

Former KBR employees and water quality specialists, Ben Carter and Ken May, told HalliburtonWatch that KBR knowingly exposes troops and civilians to contaminated water from Iraq's Euphrates River. One internal KBR email provided to HalliburtonWatch says that, for "possibly a year," the level of contamination at one camp was two times the normal level for untreated water.

The story keeps changing: Basra drama - how events unfolded. Meanwhile: 'Five Iraqi civilians killed' in SAS rescue operation

Iraq denounces British rescue in Basra. [Look at the Reuters pictures to the left of the article to get a sense of the destruction caused by this British raid.]

"Four tanks invaded the area. A tank cannon struck a room where a policeman was praying," said policeman Abbas Hassan, standing next to mangled cars outside the police station and jail that he said were crushed by British military vehicles. "This is terrorism. All we had was rifles."

Propaganda not working: Pentagon voices optimism on Iraq's 'tough reality'.

Iraq chaos threatens ancient faith.

There are fears for the future of one of the most ancient, as well as the smallest, communities in Iraq - the Mandeans. Their religion, Mandeanism, comes from the same general background as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They share many of the same prophets, but particularly honour John the Baptist....
Another woman, Shada Hanal, said she used to work as a teacher until she was sacked for refusing to wear the Islamic headscarf. Then her brother-in-law was attacked in his shop. "His attackers beat him up and stole everything," said Shada. "When we went to seek justice, the judge said the Muslims had the right to steal from us. He said we were a sin in the world."

68 murdered journalists since Iraq was conquered: Two Iraqi journalists kidnapped and murdered in separate attacks.

Vets under attack by War Makers: Vets groups slam review of combat stress cases.

I'd imagine he's not the only one: Feds: Texan gave girlfriend, others access to 'Green Zone'.

Army Abandons Plan to Borrow From Funds for Troops' Vehicles.

The Army accounts for the greatest share of the war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, now estimated to be running at $6.7 billion a month. That is markedly higher that what was assumed in the spring, when Congress approved a supplemental war-spending bill that included $17.48 billion for Army operations -- more than $200 million above the Pentagon's request.

One of the most bizarre incidents from a bizarre occupation. From what we can tell so far, two undercover British soldiers shot two Iraqi policemen in Basra. The Brits were captured and arrested, followed by an Iraqi riot: Two Britons held in Iraq for firing at police. Later, British tanks attacked the Iraqi police station where they were held: British soldiers freed after tanks 'smashed jail wall'. Coincidentally, the British had just announced they would send more troops to Iraq. Will they still?

Gilbert Achar has translated the following statement from the office of Muqtada al-Sadr:
Two soldiers from the British occupation forces have opened fire on passers-by in the vicinity of a religious center where the people of Bassorah use to go, after which police patrols have chased a white car and arrested two persons riding it. It was found that they are British, and British occupation forces intervened to try to set them free. The people of Basra demonstrated to prevent this from occurring, and occupation forces reacted by opening fire on the demonstrators killing and wounding many of them. In retaliation the inhabitants burned two British tanks. The two Britons that were arrested had in their possession explosives and remote-control devices, as well as light and medium weapons and other accessories.
Late this night, British forces raided the police headquarters of the Basra province, set free the two Britons as well as close to 150 terrorists, and burned the police vehicles.

He only stole $1,000,000,000: Warrant expected for former Iraq defence minister. He was appointed by the Americans.

Iraqis to Bush -- Where Did All Our Money Go?

Allen J. Zerkin, research fellow at New York University's Center for Catastrophic Preparedness and Response: Is Al Qaeda asking to negotiate? Plan A against terrorism isn't working, but listen closely, there might be a workable Plan B: political engagement.

Does Al Qaeda have nonnegotiable goals? Zawahiri said: "There will be no salvation until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and resources and end support for infidel, corrupt rulers." Some argue that this is an initial set of demands — that the real goal is imposing Islam on the West. Maybe. But what if, instead, Al Qaeda's agenda is what its leaders repeatedly say it is: an end to the Western military presence in Muslim lands, to "uncritical political support and military aid" to Israel, and to support of corrupt Middle Eastern regimes. Most scholars of Islam argue that because jihad is a defensive concept, the attacks on us must be understood as retaliation for perceived provocations, and that Al Qaeda's stated agenda — which has been consistent since 1996 — should be taken literally.

Bush's pals unhappy US worked so hard to create a fundamentalist Islamic state: Iraqi Charter Causes Alarm: Bush Allies Raise Concerns Over Role of Islam, Women's Rights.

That means the White House faces the growing possibility of seeing domestic support for the Iraq venture evaporate as Americans conclude that the constitution enshrines religious strictures inimical to U.S. ideals and strident ethnic separatism with the potential to break the country apart through civil war. Compounding the administration's difficulties, those criticisms are being voiced by the segments of the country long most supportive of the Iraq war. In a recent post on National Review Online's group Web log, editor Jonah Goldberg stressed the importance of women's rights in a democratic Iraq and said that "for the U.S. to countenance something else would be a breach of faith with enormous political consequences as well."

Life is better? Iraq Health Sector in Crisis.

The invasion was a great success at radicalizing Saudis, leading to the feared "terrorist threat": Iraq invasion radicalised Saudi fighters - report.

Hundreds of Saudi fighters who joined the insurgency in Iraq showed few signs of militancy before the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, according to a detailed study based on Saudi intelligence reports. The study by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), obtained by Reuters on Sunday, also said Saudis made up just 350 of the 3,000-strong foreign insurgents in Iraq -- fewer than many officials have assumed.

Barbarism Returns! The US Ambassador to Canada sees no problem with the US grabbing Canadian citizens and sending them to be tortured in Syria: No regrets, no apologies about Arar deportation, says U.S. ambassador. He then goes on to threaten other Candians.

David Wilkins is also warning that other Canadians with dual citizenship could face a similar fate if they fall under suspicion....
Wilkins, who took up his post in Ottawa about two months ago, seemed puzzled when asked whether he or his government had any regrets about the affair. "You talking about regrets by the United States?" he said. "The United States made that decision (to deport Arar) based on the facts it had, in the best interests of the people of the United States, and we stand behind it."

Terrible sign for the future. Many fewer cross-sect marriages: Terror takes toll on Sunni-Shi'ite unions.

After a two month lapse, Riverbend returns to blogging. Here are her recent entries: Back to Blogging...; September 11, 2005...; and: Draft Constitution - Part I.... I, for one, fear for her safety in the current climate.

Must Read! Patrick Cockburn reports on what he calls "one of the largest thefts in history": What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do....
Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly equipped. In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs. For months even men defusing bombs had no protection against blast because they worked without bullet-proof vests. These were often promised but never turned up.
The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions. Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes....
"If you compare the amount that was allegedly stolen of about $1bn compared with the budget of the ministry of defence, it is nearly 100 per cent of the ministry's [procurement] budget that has gone Awol," said Mr Allawi. The money missing from all ministries under the interim Iraqi government appointed by the US in June 2004 may turn out to be close to $2bn. Of a military procurement budget of $1.3bn, some $200m may have been spent on usable equipment, though this is a charitable view, say officials.
Mr Allawi says a further $500m to $600m has allegedly disappeared from the electricity, transport, interior and other ministries. This helps to explain why the supply of electricity in Baghdad has been so poor since the fall of Saddam Hussein 29 months ago despite claims by the US and subsequent Iraqi governments that they are doing everything to improve power generation.

Sunnis roundly condemn call to target Iraq Shi’ites.

Seven weeks after the deadline: Parliament approves Iraq constitution.

Iraq forces on alert in holy city of Karbala, as Shiite festival occurs.

Must Read! I thought I'd seen everything! Charitable donations for Halliburton! New twist on Iraq aid: US seeks donations.

[T]he administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq." Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed, because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons.

Delusion at their top too: Iraq offers UN rosy picture of its progress.

"We are marching towards political stability and economic prosperity," he said at the opening meeting of the 60th session of the 191-nation U.N. General Assembly

One occupier to stay, for now: UK forced to scrap Iraq withdrawal plans.

Thousands of suffering refugees: Displaced Talafar families living rough.

[In commission of a war crime, civilians denied food and water:] "If we allow the entrance of food and medicines to the city we are just feeding the insurgents. Those who are not [insurgents] and are not afraid, will ask to leave. It is not a human disaster but the prevention of it," Lt. Col. Hassan al-Medan, a senior Iraqi officer in the operation and spokesperson, said on Wednesday.

The War come home: Guard units stretched thin -- National Guard chief: Overseas missions left forces short of much-needed gear. Presumably, he'll be punished next week for pointing out the obvious.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the National Guard, said in an interview that the needs of Guard units overseas have left troops at home without modern communications and night vision equipment, as well as the vehicles necessary for Guard troops to traverse neighborhoods flooded in the wake of Katrina.

The next war? Iran Readying for Conflict With US.

Incredible though it may sound there are signs that Tehran may be preparing for a military confrontation with the United States, and has convinced itself that it could win.

Or will this be the next? US Ambassador To Iraq Predicts US Will Go Into Syria.

In Standard Operating Procedure: Sheik Beaten, Blinded, Tasered, Released Into the 'New Iraq'.

[In a brilliant maneuver:] Those incarcerated under American occupation are also forbidden from holding jobs for six months after their release.

Even in the totally controlled gulag, the US is no longer in total control: Guantánamo strike has directors worried. In response, US lies, to inmates, and to us.

Poor Planning and Corruption Hobble Reconstruction of Iraq, including in Najaf, city US cites as "success story":

American military officers and Iraqi officials involved in the reconstruction described a pattern of failures and frustrations that Army officers who have worked in other parts of Iraq say are routine. Residents complain that the many of the city's critical needs remain unfulfilled and the Army concedes that many projects it has financed are far behind schedule. Officers with the American military say that corruption and poor oversight are largely to blame.

Iran's top cleric blames US for Iraq killing wave.

The General Union of Oil Employees in Iraq has issued two new Fact Sheets [in MS Word format] they are seeking help in distributing: Support Iraqi Oil Workers and: GUOE Activity Since the Occupation. Please help distribute these!

May 2005: The GUOE held an historic anti-privatisation conference in Basra, attended by hundreds of local trade unionists, plus international delegates from US Labor Against War, Iraq Occupation Focus, PLATFORM and Jubilee Iraq. Unions and peace organizations from Korea to Argentina send messages of solidarity.

Shifting party alliances in run up to elections: Season of Electoral Alliances in Iraq.

Talabani invites Anti-occupation forces to participate in political process: Iraq Leader Invites Foes to Join Process.

Unverified claim the CIA is working to empower anti-insurgency Sunni groups: The CIA, the Pentagon and the role of Sunni groups. [I don't know who these people are and have no idea if there is anything to the report.]

Property Commission Appeals for More Time: Extension sought for compensation applications by those who lost property under Saddam.

Another city being depopulated: Residents flee Iraq's Samara city.

Things are bad when a CIA asset is viewed as Iraq's main hope of avoiding becoming an Islamic state: Liberal party alliance formed in Iraq.

War Pimp Alert! US fires new salvo at Syria, blaming it for Iraq bombings.

The came. They occupied. They ran: Coalition Of The Wilting.

The bloodthirsty barbarian: Blair relished ‘first blooding’ in Iraq, claims No 10 diary.

Blair privately seemed to “relish” sending British forces to Iraq as his “first blooding”, while publicly claiming he did it “with a heavy heart”....
When Blair first sent forces into Iraq, when Britain and the US launched airstrikes in December 1998, Price records in one entry: “I couldn’t help feeling TB was rather relishing his first blooding as PM, sending the boys into action. Despite all the stuff about taking action ‘with a heavy heart’, I think he feels it is part of his coming of age as a leader.”

From the ACLU: New Documents Contradict Army Report Denying Systemic Failures in Treatment of Detainees.

Syria denounces Iraq attacks, seeks cooperation with US.

Anything but total defeat: US tempers its view of victory in Iraq: The Pentagon hoped to quell unrest before a pullout, but violence is changing US goals.

Latte, the last refuge of scoundrels: With “Last Throes” Debunked, Rice Unveils “The Latte Defense”.

Weldon: Atta Papers Destroyed on Orders in 1999.

Dahr Jamail on the attack on Tal-Afar: Meanwhile, in Iraq...

orrespondents with Azzaman media in Tal-Afar miraculously made it into the city and reported that residents are disputing reports that US and Iraqi soldiers have killed scores of “insurgents.” Like Fallujah, these residents of Tal-Afar are reporting that most of the people killed were civilians who had no place to go so they chose to stay in their homes. People also stayed because they feared persecution at the hands of the Peshmerga and Badr Army.

Occupiers may be anywhere: Residents Resent House Invaders: Troops’ use of rooftop vantage points leaves homeowners none too pleased.

Another way situation of women worsening: Focus on increasing cases of abused women.

Protest Over Utilities Spirals into Violence: Peaceful demonstration in Kurdish region spills over into a riot with political overtones.

Dissatisfaction over inadequate water and electricity supplies led to a recent mass protest in the Kurdish town of Kalar, which left buildings burnt and some 30 people injured in clashes with police. More than 2,000 residents, most of them in their twenties, marched down the streets of Kalar on September 7, demanding that basic public services be restored to an acceptable level. They also complained about fuel shortages that have been going on for two years. It is the first time that there have been protests of this size against government services in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Repeated attacks on the press: Detention of Iraqi Employees Angers Western News Media.

Iraqi government discusses taking over: Iraq government in security talks.

In the face of concerted US pressure: Netherlands to withdraw troops from Iraq.

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende announced the withdrawal of all Dutch troops from Iraq. All 1350 military personnel are expected to be back home before mid March....
The US MoD similarly stated that removing the troops would be a waste of what was accomplished alreadyt. And indeed some politicians, mainly of the parties now in government changed their minds, now favoring further Dutch deployment of troops. All the while, diplomatic travel in and around The Hague was unusually busy, so say Dutch politicians. Members of parliament were visited by coalition ambassadors, calls came from colleague Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs. Powel was even brought to The Hague, though only to try and convince Dutch politicians of the good of joining the occupation forces in Iraq.

Some profit handsomely: ArmorGroup lifted by Iraq chaos.

Hunger Strike Spreads at Guantanamo Bay.

fter 11 detainees joined the protest overnight, there are now 131 taking part in the hunger strike, said Maj. Jeff Weir, a spokesman for the detention center. [Other figures have been much higher.]

Oh, lucky US: As friction with Arab neighbors intensifies, Iraq growing ever closer to Iran. How do the neocons explain the major US effort to help their mortal enemy?

The government as official butcher: Iraq May Expand Death Penalty.

"We need some kind of a response to these terrorists, to make them think two or three times before they decide to carry out terrorist acts," said Ala Noori Talabani, a member of the transitional National Assembly with the Kurdish alliance. "Otherwise, what will make people afraid to commit these crimes?" [That's a funny one: The death penalty will deter suicide bombers. Or is it that the Shia's enemies will start being dispatched en masse]

Iraq/CPA redux as hundreds of billions get spent on the crooks and swindlers "rebuilding" New Orleans , says Joshua Micah Marshall: This Worries Me.

More wars for oil? Britons Accept Gas Prices of Nearly $7.

Must Read! The democracy the US hates: Calling U.S. troops `occupation forces,' Iraqis seek timetable for exit.

In an attempt to lay the legal groundwork for asking the United States to withdraw its troops, an Iraqi National Assembly committee released a report Tuesday that said the presence of the American military prevents Iraq from becoming fully sovereign. The 18-member National Sovereignty Committee, made up of legislators chosen in national elections in January, said the only way Iraq could achieve sovereignty was for multinational forces to leave. The report called for setting a timetable for the troops to go home and referred to them as "occupation forces," a first....
Most of the committee members are members of the Shiite Muslim political coalition that dominated January's parliamentary elections, though it was impossible to know how widespread their view is among government supporters. Assembly members were silent after Jawad al-Malikit, the committee's chairman and a member of the powerful Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, completed reading the four-page report. Later, members of the committee said they'd compiled the report to create a legal channel that would make their country independent. "It's normal to ask for our full sovereignty. It should have happened right after the elections because the government is legal," al-Malikit said....
It also called for the government to have control over its intelligence operations, palaces and prisons. American forces so far have refused to grant Iraqis access to many intelligence operations, to allow them to occupy several palaces that Saddam built and to let them operate several prisons.

New PsyOps campaign against American public: Military suddenly takes counteroffensive in war of words with Iraqi insurgents.

Justice Minister criticizes occupier? Iraq Slams U.S. Detentions, Immunity for Troops.

Another humanitarian catastrophe: Urgent aid required as displacement increases in Talafar.

Thirteen killed by US troops. at least 40 others killed: Watchdog slams US forces for media deaths in Iraq.

Several of the 13 deaths suggest indifference by U.S. soldiers to the presence of civilians, including members of the press," the CPJ said in a statement....
"As far as we know the military has conducted full investigations into only a handful of incidents and made public its reports on just two of them. With such a record the Pentagon needs to address its own serious credibility problem by showing some accountability and by providing real answers to outstanding questions about these shocking deaths."

Another reporter shot: Associated Press cameraman shot and seriously wounded by Iraqi soldiers.

People vote in Norway. Troops to leave Iraq: Leftist Coalition Seems to Be the Winner in Norway's Election.

But letting the good times roll is not really the Scandinavian way. Even at the cost of moderately higher taxes, most Norwegians on Monday seemed intent on protecting or expanding generous sick-leave, pregnancy-leave and job-security policies along with subsidized day care and free college tuition.

Many weeks after the deadline: Iraqis continue charter deliberations.

Sunni Arabs seek UN guarantees on Iraq referendum.

Puppet spoke without permission. Puppet takes back words: No timetable for US troop withdrawal: Talabani.

Iraq suffers severe water shortage.

With temperatures nudging 50-degrees centigrade, some residents of the Iraqi capital have been without clean running water for weeks. The Baghdad Municipality blames insurgent attacks and crumbling infrastructure, but those without water say the problem lies with corrupt officials.

The complaints are not made clear in this article: Iraq's Justice Minister sees flaws in Saddam Tribunal.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi: Building a case, any case, against Iran.

The British think tank, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), has just released a new study on Iran's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) - "Iran's Strategic Weapons Programs - A Net Assessment" - declaring with much fanfare that Tehran is five years or so from developing nuclear bombs. How history repeats itself. One is reminded of the IISS's previous "strategic dossier" on Iraq in 2002, which became Paul Wolfowitz's bible in the Washington neo-conservatives' crusade to rationalize their planned invasion.

There's people to be killed and profits to be made: Arms fair criticised for using Iraq war to market weapons.

Detention for retribution. Fate determined by those with a grudge: Informants Decide Fate of Iraqi Detainees: U.S. Military Relies on Guidance of 'Sources' in Tall Afar. So how do they decide the dead are "insurgents". Oh, yeah, they're dead, so they must be.

Another soldier, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he said he would be punished by commanders for his criticism, had a more negative view of the sources' performance. "We almost never get anything good from them," he said. "I think they just pick people from another tribe or people who owe them money or something."

Social democracy, NO! Privatized hell? Most definitely! How the US got its neoliberal way in Iraq.

Playing to a domestic audience: Talabani Says Iraqis Could Replace Many U.S. Troops: President's Claim About Major American Withdrawal by Year's End Conflicts With White House Position. This, of course, would be after the elections on the constitution and a new Parliament.

Further shutting of freedom in Iraq: No Comments: Raed .

Fleeing at the rate of 30,000 a month: Is there any place for Christians in the new Iraq?

Under Sharia, non Muslims are accorded "dhimmi" status under which they may have to pay special taxes. Since Saddam Hussein was removed in 2003, the experiences of Baghdad Christian alcohol vendors, for example, have included visits from the Hawza (Shia religious authorities), who have extorted cash penalties on the grounds that Sharia was being violated.

Learning the hard way that you can't have your cake and eat it too: Guard Stretched Between Katrina, Wars. But are they capable of learning? Administration Refuses To Acknowledge Reality: The National Guard Is Stretched Thin.

October 15th, they'll vote on what? Talks on Iraq constitution are not over yet.

Six million Iraqi children head back to school. They call this teaching? Saddam erased from Iraqi school syllabus.

Rory Carroll: Reporters at risk. Journalists believe recent deaths and injuries among their number based in Iraq show US troops are getting out of control.

[Perhaps, not by accident:] "It is becoming impossible for us in good conscience to send out reporters to gather information because we don't know what will happen to them," says Richard Engel, a correspondent for the US television network NBC. If something goes wrong, he says, "we don't know what procedures if any exist to follow up...."
In addition to shooting them, US forces have a habit of detaining journalists without charge. Weeks can pass before a bureau is able to confirm that an employee has been arrested, possibly injured, and held incommunicado in Abu Ghraib or another prison.

The mercenaries flooding New Orleans are guarding the houses of the rich. No wonder they are allowed to carry guns when no else can and many have been deputized Mercenaries guard homes of the rich in New Orleans. Of course the property of those who can least afford to loose is it is not considered worth protecting.

David Reagan, 52, a semi-retired US army colonel from Huntsville, Alabama, who fought in the first Gulf war and is commander of Blackwater's operations in the city, refused to say how many men he had in New Orleans but indicated it was in the hundreds. Asked if they had encountered many looters so far, Mr Reagan said that the sight of his heavily armed men - a pump action shotgun was propped against the wall near to where he was standing - was enough to put most people off.

The War Comes Home! as if the Hurricane and FEMA aren't bad enough, mercenary killers set loose in New Orleans, just as they are in Iraq: Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans.

Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte....
Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago....

Murderous mercenaries all over the place, shooting on a whim: Security Contractors in Iraq Under Scrutiny After Shootings.

The Bloodsuckers! All eyes on Halliburton as contacts turn into contracts. Reconstruction work after Katrina is going to be costly - and highly lucrative.

The Houston-based company - once headed by vice-president Dick Cheney, who was dispatched by George Bush to survey the damage - has been a star performer on the markets since the storm hit the Gulf. Its shares have risen by more than 10 per cent to $65. It has out-performed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which itself recovered last week.

Must Read! Dr. Rajaa Khuzai, member of the committee to write the Iraqi constitution, sent this e-mail Saturday: Dreams of democracy in Iraq are dying.

I am disappointed. Women are going to lose their rights. Resolution 137 (which eliminates Iraqi family laws relative to women's rights and replaces it with Islamic legal doctrine) is coming back. Our civil family law will be canceled. We will go on Sharia law. We will be part of Iran.
I think it is over now. I want the American people to know that our dreams are gone, our work was in vain. There will be no future for our children and our grandchildren in the new Iraq. The future is for the clerics. They will lead the country ... This is not the democracy we dreamed of. This is the dictatorship of the majority!
e thought that we will benefit from the Americans, the new technology, human rights, women's rights. We haven't seen any of these ... It is more than two years.
ought that once the regime fell, we will live a better life. I dreamed that I will never see children and women dying of poverty and malnutrition (like I have seen under the sanctions). Unfortunately, there now is more than before....
We, as constitution-drafting members, don't know what's happening. We finished on Aug. 15. The (big guys) started from zero. They changed everything in it. They are dividing the cake into pieces. It is personal ... It is a shame we have reached this point. The big guys, every one counts how much he will benefit.
My request to the women of San Antonio, my friends, can you please support the Iraqi women, to bring back our rights? Or it is our own case, nobody will help?

Associated Press: Iraq factions may be headed for showdown.

[T]ensions are clearly rising, fueled by old rivalries, new "death squad" killings and vastly differing visions for the new Iraq. Perhaps most troubling, no leader has emerged with a vision that transcends his own community's narrow interests plus the political stature to carry it out. Instead, the bitterness that welled up among Kurds and Shiites during the years of Saddam's tyranny have produced a constricted atmosphere of retribution rather than reconciliation....
Colloquially, Sunni Arabs often refer to the security forces by their old militia names -- the Kurdish peshmerga -- or the Shiite Badr Brigade which fought against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. In language heard with increasing frequency in Iraq, a Sunni woman told Associated Press Television News last week that her cousin was arrested by "Badr forces, some in police uniforms ... just for being a Sunni." "They told him that 'Sunni' equals terrorism," she said.

Colonial troops sent to their room: US army blocks the Iraqi army from Iraq's airport.

Saddam's translator emerges from obscurity consulting to Sunni constitutional negotiators.

They don't buy suicide claim: Soldier's death in Iraq is still a mystery to her parents.

Pretty soon these catastrophes will amount to real money: Katrina's Costs Could Approach That of War.

None dare call it lie! Army changes story about soldier's death: Army knew for a year he was not killed in action. Sounds like telling the truth now is retribution for his mother's antiwar protests.

Have they no shame? Of course not: Outrageous: Army Recruiters Set Their Sights On Hurricane Victims.

The country tolerates this? Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk: Event Remembering 9/11, Troops to Be Kept 'Sterile,' Limited to Preregistered.

On September 4, six days after Katrina hit, I saw the first glimmer of hope. "The people of New Orleans will not go quietly into the night, scattering across this country to become homeless in countless other cities while federal relief funds are funneled into rebuilding casinos, hotels, chemical plants.... We will not stand idly by while this disaster is used as an opportunity to replace our homes with newly built mansions and condos in a gentrified New Orleans." The statement came from Community Labor United, a coalition of low-income groups in New Orleans. It went on to demand that a committee made up of evacuees "oversee FEMA, the Red Cross and other organizations collecting resources on behalf of our people.... We are calling for evacuees from our community to actively participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans."
here are already signs that New Orleans evacuees could face a similarly brutal second storm. Jimmy Reiss, chairman of the New Orleans Business Council, told Newsweek that he has been brainstorming about how "to use this catastrophe as a once-in-an-eon opportunity to change the dynamic." The Business Council's wish list is well-known: low wages, low taxes, more luxury condos and hotels. ...
here are already signs that New Orleans evacuees could face a similarly brutal second storm. Jimmy Reiss, chairman of the New Orleans Business Council, told Newsweek that he has been brainstorming about how "to use this catastrophe as a once-in-an-eon opportunity to change the dynamic." The Business Council's wish list is well-known: low wages, low taxes, more luxury condos and hotels.

Keep us in power, says President: Iraq appeals to U.S. not to quit Iraq early.

Baghdad airport closed to civilian traffic: Iraqi forces to take over security after dispute with contractor.

The Iraq tax: Iraq hurt Katrina response, general says.

Rights? Hell no! US court upholds enemy combatant's detention.

Katrina fallout? 4 National Guard units kept in Iraq.

Damn right: Powell calls pre-Iraq U.N. speech a 'blot' on his record. See also: Ex-Secretary of State Powell slams storm effort.

Will they really control the mercenaries? Iraq to bring private armies under control.

Infamous mercenary firm Blackwater, fresh from Iraq horrors, patrols New Orleans: Gulf War III: Why is Blackwater USA patrolling New Orleans with M-16s?

200: Hunger strikers pledge to die in Guantánamo.

Not good sign for constitution: Iraq's Sunnis Register to Vote in Droves: Minority Mobilizes To Win Rejection Of Draft Charter.

Registration in Anbar swelled from a tiny percentage of eligible adults in January to nearly 85 percent, said Muhammed Ibrahim, the director of voter registration centers in the province.

Iraq's New Constitution Divides Turkmen .

Since things are improving every day: Some Iraq Projects Running Out of Money, U.S. Says: Work will be stopped on some utility plants, officials tell lawmakers, because security costs are depleting funds..

The slow pace of progress appeared to exasperate both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who compared the situation with the Bush administration's handling of damage from Hurricane Katrina. Both situations reflected a lack of planning, poor execution and a failure by senior White House officials to follow through on commitments, Democrats said.

Interesting account. How does this fit with the amazing popularity of al-Sadr? Sadr City Success Story. Life is far from rosy in the Baghdad slum, but residents have seen enough progress from rebuilding efforts to give U.S. troops a chance.

Unlike elsewhere in Iraq, where the reconstruction fell under the purview of a hodgepodge of U.S. civilian agencies, the American military provided sustained, focused leadership in a limited geographic area. That focus provided the oversight needed to coordinate the military's efforts with those of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Pentagon's Project and Contracting Office, the primary reconstruction agencies.
The rebuilding also held more immediate significance among mid-level commanders in the field than among higher-level Pentagon officials preoccupied with fighting the war. The field officers focused on short-term, high-visibility projects such as cleaning up trash and digging wells, instead of massive new water treatment plants or power stations that take years to build. They also hired local Iraqi contractors, who in turn employed many of the militia members who had once battled U.S. troops.
Finally, unlike the U.S. multinationals contracted to build large infrastructure projects, the military did not have to rely on expensive security contractors for protection. That enabled soldiers to more easily communicate with Iraqis, monitor progress and overcome problems

Devolving power in Iraq threatens oil development.

A federal Iraq is likely to plunge the country's vital oil sector into disarray and hamper much-needed investment if decision-making is decentralised, oil officials and analysts said. Iraq's interim constitution, due to be put to a referendum next month, could lead to several autonomous zones under which a central government in Baghdad would not have complete control over oil resources. Multinationals would then have to negotiate about developing fields in the country with the third largest crude reserves in the world with provincial governments, which want a greater share of oil revenues, and the central government.

Payback: Iraq Buys 1.25M Tons US, Australian Wheat.

The new murder regime: UN raises alarm on death squads and torture in Iraq.

The United Nations raised the alarm on Thursday about mounting violence in Iraq blamed on pro-government militias and urged the authorities to look into reports of systematic torture in police stations....
"Corpses appear regularly in and around Baghdad and other areas. Most bear signs of torture and appear to be victims of extrajudicial executions," it said, noting incidents reported after arrests by "forces linked to the Ministry of Interior".

Confusion reigns: UN holds presses as Iraq constitution said amended.

The start of a new oil war? Seeking Oil in Troubled Waters.

In the hypocrites' corner: US approved Saddam's biggest oil smuggling - report

How long does it take to get them home in a crisis? Louisiana Guard soldiers heading home: 80 percent of New Orleans unit lost homes, jobs, relatives.

“She saw my house float past her. She took a picture of it,” Roger said in a Cajun drawl. “They said the water came in so fast down there, it swept everything away. I lost everything I own, except my truck.”

The War on America! Occupation soldiers reflect on the military occupation of New Orleans: From Iraq, troops see parallels in Katrina. See also: Big Easy feels like war zone; and: Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded.

[From Iraq:] "If anything I'm kind of embarrassed," said an officer. "We're supposed to be telling the Iraqis how to act and this is what's happening at home?" A senior officer allowed that if he was forced to choose between New Orleans and Baghdad he'd prefer to take his chances in Baghdad....
In New Orleans, the clear-and-hold operation was delayed until Friday so the National Guard could enter with sufficient numbers to prevent any attempts at opposition, said National Guard Bureau chief Lt. Gen. Steven Blum at a Pentagon briefing Saturday. "Overmatch" is one way military commanders assure a positive outcome: show such force and numbers when they first enter anyone who would consider resisting is convinced of the futility.

Disaster and the bastards' price gouging will hurt us all: Where's emergency heating relief? US raises winter oil forecast to near $70. Where's emergency heating relief? Oh, yeah, those in Washington won't have trouble paying.

Transformation of "nice girl" into target and into killer, courtesy of US military: `Minnesota Nice' goes to war.

Now she talks about the "rush" of confronting insurgent attacks, forcing civilian traffic out of the way and stitching the pavement with her machine gun if another vehicle gets too close.

Keep Iraqis from speaking, says US and Italy: World Media Watch [See #2].

Truth? Or PsyOps? Terrorist had plans for London attacks.

One of few positive signs. Can it last? Nation unites in answer to Baghdad stampede appeal.

“We never expected such a response. The disaster has been a trigger showing how unified Iraqis are,” said Ali Alkhalidi, the chief correspondent at the Iraqiya TV station in central Baghdad, where the main appeal centre is located. “People have come from all over Iraq to give money for the bereaved: Sunnis, Shia, Turkomen, Kurds....”

They get "conservation": Chaos as Iraq limits driving to save fuel. What about those who drive their children to school to keep them safe from rampant kidnappers? School only on odd days?

Tuesday was the first day of the new rule, and only cars with licence plates ending in an odd number could take to the streets. And an odd day it proved for drivers....
Others were angry, like taxi driver Amir al-Hameeri, who did not take his car out on Tuesday, fearful of a fine equivalent to $20 if his even-numbered licence plate was spotted. "It's a ruthless decision against the poor," he grumbled. "How can I feed my family now?"

Must Read! Duh... Internal Memos Show Oil Companies Intentionally Limited Refining Capacity to Drive Up Gasoline Prices.

The three internal memos from Mobil, Chevron, and Texaco (available at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/energy/fs/ show different ways the oil giants closed down refining capacity and drove independent refiners out of business. The confidential memos demonstrate a nationwide effort by American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying and research arm of the oil industry, to encourage the major refiners to close their refineries in the mid-1990s in order to raise the price at the pump....
An internal Chevron memo states; "A senior energy analyst at the recent API convention warned that if the US petroleum industry doesn't reduce its refining capacity it will never see any substantial increase in refinery margins." It then discussed how major refiners were closing down their refineries.

After months of imprisoning an innocent American, just two days before a court hearing: U.S. Resident Freed From Baghdad Prison.

Successful Iraq policy copied. Will Corporate Press go along: US agency blocks photos of New Orleans dead. I knew this was coming as soon as FEMA got control. Obviously, they'll also hide the true death toll.

Scoundrel Time! Douglas Feith: Top War Profiteer Doug Feith Retires Wealthy.

Gulf Guard Soldiers: "They Want To Come Home And Help Their Families, Friends And Communities".

Sunnis donate blood for Shi'ite stampede victims.

Sunni religious leaders have called on their followers to donate blood for Shi'ite victims of the tragic stampede in Baghdad last week....
The call has reportedly resulted in queues of people at the doors of the main hospitals in the capital over the past few days. Imams in Fallujah have been using loudspeaker systems during prayer time in mosques to call on people to make donations. Khalid Mahmoud, a senior official at the Ministry of Health, said that they had received more than 1,800 of bottles of blood from the city of Fallujah and around 1,200 from the Shi'ite city of Amarah, in the south of the country.

Massacre in the works? With Death at Their Door, Few Leave Iraqi City: Civilians Urged to Flee Before US Assault.

[While refusing to exit toward the south:] But several Sarai residents said they had been warned that Shiite residents or policeman, who are concentrated in southern Tall Afar, would attack if they left in that direction. "I would rather die from American bombs in my home with my family than walk south," a man in a gray dishdasha , or robe, and white head scarf explained to soldiers. "People are saying the Shiites will kill you or kidnap you. That is a disgrace."

Herbert Docena discusses what the constitution that a democratic Iraq that reflected the wishes of its people would be like: Iraq’s Neoliberal Constitution.

Occupation forever: The US Plans a Long, Long Stay in Iraq.

Gen. Jumper let the cat out of the bag. While President George Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent air bases in Iraq that will require heavy infantry protection. Jumper’s revelation confirms what this column has long said: the Pentagon plans to copy Imperial Britain’s method of ruling oil-rich Iraq. In the 1920’s, the British cobbled together Iraq from three disparate Ottoman provinces to control newly-found oil fields in Kurdistan and along the Iranian border. The Sunni heartland in the middle was included to link these two oil regions....
The US reportedly offered the 15 Sunni convention delegates $5 million each to vote for the constitution -but was turned down. No mention was made that a US `guided’ constitution for Iraq clearly violates the Geneva Conventions.

Opinion on the ground: Some officers believe the war `will last for years'.

How stupid do they think we are? Military: Katrina Won't Affect War Plans.

However: Rebuilding may cost as much as war in Iraq .

Dahr Jamail: UN Official Says US Interfering in Iraq Constitution Process.

US influence in the process of drafting a constitution for Iraq is excessive and "highly inappropriate," a United Nations official says.

Part III of Anthony Shadid's series: An Uncertain Dawn On a Scarred Street. Repost: Part I: The Eyes of Amal ; After the Fall, Amal Surrenders Her Illusions. See also the excerpts from her diary: The Diary of Amal Salman.

US General says US will remain in Iraq long-term: U.S. the new Saddam.

Deal off: Final Iraq charter talks end, text being printed.

Further brutalizing Iraqi society by making executions commonplace is supposed to help? Iraqi MPs debate sweeping anti-terror bill.

Possible offences also include "advocating sectarian sedition or civil war through arming citizens or mobilising them to carry arms against each other". [Will the Peshmurga and the Badr Corp be executed en masse? Or is this just for SOME "armed gangs" in a country full of armed gangs?]

Scoundrel Time! War pays! US: CEOs with Defense Firms Double Salaries Since 9/11.

Iraq president assails stance of Arab states.

Anthony Shadid in a Washington Post series, provides a view of the war through the diaries of one Iraqi girl: Part I: The Eyes of Amal ; After the Fall, Amal Surrenders Her Illusions. See also the excerpts from her diary: The Diary of Amal Salman. Also see a review of Anthony Shadid's new book: Lost chances: Iraq war could have gone differently.

Al-Sadr vows revenge on Sunnis over stampede deaths.

Government sources, meanwhile, complained that the American military were partly to blame for the tragedy by failing to remove blast barriers from the bridge, which they said made it a bottleneck.

Sunni teenager who died saving Shias hailed as hero . [But it didn't last. See above post.]

Surprise! You can't have your cake and eat it too: Katrina Deployments Add to Military Strain.

Going, going, ... Italy scales back Iraq troops.

Maybe we're in worse shape than it appears. Perhaps the idiots in charge actually believed their propaganda, no matter what the evidence: Special AP Report Reveals Fresh Details on Iraq WMD Controversy . [Perhaps they actually believe they did a great job coping with Hurricane Katrina too.]

Iraq oil exports disrupted by blast.

Protest, Resistance, and Civil War

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Friday: Insurgents Kill Nine in Baghdad Market.

Thursday: At least 85 killed in triple Iraqi car bombing; Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Ramadi; and: Security incidents in Iraq, Sept 29.

Shia-Kurdish army occupies Sunni Falluja: Return to Fallujah.

Intra-Shia fighting escalating? Bomb targets bodyguard of Iraq cleric Sadr, kills 6.

Wednesday: Suicide bomber hits Iraq police checkpoint in Baquba. Now female suicide bombers: Iraq woman bomber kills army recruits in Tal Afar. And, in Baghdad: Bomb Kills 7 Police Recruits in Hub of Iraq's Insurgency.

Another in a long line of "last stands": Insurgents seize 5 towns near Syria: Militants loyal to al-Zarqawi tell residents in 'death letters' to abandon their homes.

Boosting morale? Iraq's al-Qaeda number two killed.

They can't be kept out: Suicide Bomber Stopped After Penetrating Baghdad's Green Zone.

Another massacre: Police Find 22 Bodies of Slain Iraqis.

Claim: US troops kill 4 civilians in western Iraq.

Monday: 19 including 3 US troops killed in Iraq.

Iraqi gunmen kill Shi'a teachers.

Insurgents bomb junction at Iraq oil export pipeline.

Monday: Suicide bomb kills six at Iraq's oil ministry.

Sunday: 35 killed in Iraq bombings, clashes.

Is the US trying to provoke a al-Sadr election abstention call? Sadr City gunbattle, armored car heist and bombings end relative calm in Baghdad .

A statement read to reporters by an official with al-Sadr's office, accused U.S. forces of trying to draw them into a battle "aimed at destroying Iraqi towns, particularly those in pro-Sadr areas and .... to prevent al-Sadr followers from voting" in the referendum.

At least 25 die as sectarian tensions rise in Iraq.

Saturday: Security incidents in Iraq, Sept 24.

3 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq as fighting surges.

Friday: Suicide bomber hits Baghdad bus: Three men, two of them Interior Ministry officials, killed.

Thursday: Oil pipeline attacked in northern Iraq.

Gunmen in police uniform kill three family members in Baghdad.

Roadside bomb hits convoy, killing one American soldier and wounding six.

The number's gone up -- to 10%: Study Says Only 10% of Iraq Insurgents Are Foreign.

Another massacre: Nineteen bodies discovered north of Baghdad.

Wednesday: Insurgents attack U.S., Iraqi forces in central Baghdad.

12 Americans killed in Iraq; overall total reaches 1,907. This includes the 9 reported killed yesterday. See also: Three Blackwater guards killed with State Dept. official in Iraq.

Iraq Interior Minister disputes British account, while Basra police protest: Iraqi police protest after British raid in Basra. Also: TV shows captured soldiers and their 'arsenal'.

[Iraqi police:] About 200 policemen who work at the police station damaged during the British raid marched through the streets, calling for the city police chief to be fired and for the "British terrorists" to be returned to Iraqi jurisdiction. [Notice how "terrorist" can be used against anyone.]
[TV:] Among the weapons in footage shown by the al-Iraqiya television channel was an anti-tank gun and a light machine gun with half a dozen magazines. [What are they doing with antitank guns??]

Shamelessly trying to hide the evidence of Us crimes: Military judge bars release of Abu Ghraib photos.

Three US convoys attacked in Iraq wounding two.

More Casey Sheehan's: Bomb Attacks Kill 9 Americans in Iraq.

Iraq's National Security Adviser: Insurgents 'inside Iraqi police'.

Saudi Fighters in Iraq Bring Money.

Saudi fighters make up only about 1 percent of Iraq's insurgency, but each contributes thousands of dollars to the cause -- and they make sure their roles as "martyrs" are known when they carry out suicide attacks, helping draw more recruits, a new report said....
Most of the Saudis who join the insurgency "were motivated by revulsion at the idea of an Arab land being occupied by a non-Arab country" and anger over allegations of U.S. abuses at the Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay prisons, it said. They average in age between 17-25. Notably, most of those caught by Saudi authorities trying to enter Iraq "were not militants before the Iraq war," it said. Eighty-five percent were not on any government watch list or known to be al-Qaida members. Instead, they were "radicalized almost exclusively by the coalition invasion," the report said.

UN says Al-Qaeda training in Iraq.

"Recruits travel there from many parts of the world and acquire skills in urban warfare, bomb-making, assassination and suicide attacks," the panel said. "When these fighters return to their countries of origin or residence and join those at home who are well integrated locally, the combination is likely to increase the threat of successful terrorist attacks considerably," the experts said.

Samarra: Hard lessons in counterinsurgency.

Iraq al-Qaeda 'to spare some Shi'ites'.

"It has become known to our group that some sects, such as the Sadr group ... and others, have not taken part in the massacres and not helped the occupier," the group said in a statement posted on an Islamist website often used by al-Qaeda. "So we have decided not to hurt these groups in any way, as long as they do not strike us," it added.

Relentless Rebel Attacks Test Shiite Endurance.

It's a hard life, but... Baghdad Spies Live on Edge: The Iraqi intelligence service is starting from scratch after a purge of Hussein-era agents. So far, rivals and insurgents have the upper hand.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have also accused Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and especially Iran of sending a flood of intelligence assets into Iraq, and of launching clandestine offensives. Iraqis say they're too overwhelmed fighting the insurgency to fend off those efforts.

More assassinations: Kurdish lawmaker assassinated in Iraq. And: Iraqi working for NYT found shot dead in Basra.

Monday: Eight killed in Iraq car bomb blasts.

Joe Klein in Time has an account of Saddam's involvement in the early insurgency: Saddam's Revenge. Meanwhile: Saddam's nephew jailed for funding insurgency: First court verdict against family member of ousted Iraqi leader.

Must Read! This report from "an observer in Iraq writes to me," sent to Juan Cole, says the government is loosing control of many neighborhoods in Baghdad: Security Situation in Baghdad Sinking like the Titanic.

The government will respond feebly. It will go into a contested neighborhood, and then just like Fallujah, Ramadi, Tel Afar, the insurgents will flee to take over another area on another day. Bit by bit they are taking over the main parts of Baghdad. The only place we are sure they cannot control is Sadr City, unless of course they want to take on Jaish Mahdy [Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army], and that would be bloody.

Mahdi Army: Shiite militiamen block centre of Basra demanding release of commander.

Cleric says al-Zarqawi died long ago. "Al-Qaida’s leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead but Washington continues to use him as a bogeyman to justify a prolonged military occupation."

20: Bodies found in Tigris River.

Peter Beaumont: Al-Qaeda's slaughter has one aim: civil war .

That was then. A year on, the government, and its multinational allies, are confronting a shocking new reality: an emboldened and reinvigorated al-Qaeda that for the first time is attracting increasingly large numbers of young Iraqi Sunnis to its cause - and to die in suicide operations.

Saturday: Car Bombing at Iraq Market Leaves 30 Dead.

Friday: Suicide attack on Iraqi Shi'ite mosque kills 11.

Sectarian Violence Rocks Al-Amiriyah: A once-peaceful Baghdad neighbourhood is one of many to have fallen victim to sectarian murders.

Thursday's dying: At least 31 killed in new Baghdad attacks: Al-Qaida in Iraq declares ‘all-out war’ on Shiites as two-day death toll soars. Of course, these "death tolls" never include the innumerable faceless Iraqis killed by the massive US bombing.

The perennial, little-reported mass bombing continues, threatening civilians in yet another town: US jets strike Iraqi town near Syria.

Times of London claims: Terrorists unite to plot Iraqi civil war.

According to US military intelligence sources [in other words, US propagandists], Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man responsible for the bloodiest acts of terror in Iraq over the past two years, now commands thousands of fighters from various rival groups and is set to order further waves of bombings....
An intelligence summary, citing the conglomeration of insurgent groups under the al-Qaeda banner to be the result of rebel turf wars, money, weaponry and fear, concluded that of the estimated 16,000 Sunni Muslim insurgents, 6,700 were hardcore Islamic fundamentalists who were now supplemented by a possible further 4,000 members after an amalgamation with Jaysh Muhammad, previously an insurgent group loyal to the former Baathist regime.

A reaction to Wednesdays horrific bombing of laborers seeking work: 'This is ten times worse than under Saddam'. Meanwhile: Baghdad hospital corridors fill with dead, wounded.

From Reuters: CHRONOLOGY-The deadliest bomb attacks in Iraq.

Gunmen kill 17 villagers in Iraq .

Gunmen wearing military uniforms surrounded a village north of Baghdad and killed 17 men, police said.

US forces attack Iraqi rebel stronghold of Haditha.

Wednesday: Wave of violence in Iraq kills more than 100: Al Qaeda posts apparent claim of responsibility. The death toll will likely rise. Reuters reports 150 dead.

Tuesday: Three US citizens killed, one injured in blast in Basra.

As Sunni's react: Iraq's Government Seeks to Calm Fears Raised by Offensive.

200 claimed killed. How many were fighters? Troops kill 200 insurgents in Iraq. reports said that Tal Afar was 90% evacuated, which would mean 20,000 to 25,000 civilians left there. As usual when destroying Iraqi cities, the US refused to allow males of "fighting age" to leave.

3 kidnapped Turkish engineers freed in Iraq.

Monday: Security incidents in Iraq, Sept 12.

As tit for tat build, the point of no return is near: Iraq Killings Raise Fear Of Civil War: Sectarian Murders Rise In Baghdad, Beyond.

"The number of gunshot cases we see now is huge," said Professor Abed Razaq Ibaidi, acting director for the Central Institute of Forensic Medicine in Baghdad, the largest morgue in the country. Doctors believe that most gunshot victims are the targets of assassination because they have multiple bullet wounds, many of them around the chest. "Most of the time they use machine guns, and it [seems] intentional because ... they shoot more than once around the chest area," Ibaidi said....
Once people start to leave, the tide of instability can be hard to reverse, said Ed Joseph, a fellow at the Wilson Institute who worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina during that Balkan country's war in the mid-1990s. He said the likelihood of civil war increases if, after attacks targeting a community, other members of the minority population flee.

Rebels attack US-British compound in southern Iraq after Tal Afar assault.

Rebels rocket US consulate in southern Iraq.

Most got away: As Offensive in Iraq Continues, Troops Find Unexpected Quiet.

Qaeda group threatens chemical attack over Tal Afar.

Third British soldier in a week killed in Iraq bomb attack.

City destroyed. 200,000 exiles. Hundreds of civilians potentially killed. But: Many Insurgents Escape U.S.-Iraqi Sweep.

Iraqi forces launch attack on Tal Afar.

Expanding the second front in Afghanistan: Al-Qaeda casts new shadow.

US troops in hell: For a U.S. Platoon in Iraq, Merciless Missions: Days Are Spent Pursuing Enemy, Fending Off Death.

Thursday: Suicide Bomber Strikes Near Baghdad Hotel.

Iraq violence: Spreading south?

Gunman kills 'one of the best' explosives experts.

Car bomb blast rocks Iraqi city.

War planes bomb home in western Iraq .

Four mercenaries die: Four Americans killed in southern Iraq bombing.

Intimidation, attacks take toll on contractors in Iraq.

Forces Rescue American Hostage in Iraq.

Wednesday: 4 Britons killed in roadside bomb in Iraq's Basra.

Four more Casey Sheehan's reported Tuesday while civilians suffer: U.S. airstrikes target rebel activities in Iraq: Bridges near Syria bombed; 4 American soldiers killed in separate attacks; Hundreds of Iraqis flee Tal Afar amid fighting .

Insurgents Assert Control Over Town Near Syrian Border: Zarqawi's Forces Kill U.S.-Allied Iraqis And Impose Strict Law, Witnesses Say.

Fighters loyal to militant leader Abu Musab Zarqawi asserted control over the key Iraqi border town of Qaim on Monday, killing U.S. collaborators and enforcing strict Islamic law, according to tribal members, officials, residents and others in the town and nearby villages. Residents said the foreign-led fighters controlled by Zarqawi, a Jordanian, apparently had been exerting authority in the town, within two miles of the Syrian border, since at least the start of the weekend. A sign posted at an entrance to the town declared, "Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Qaim."

But will they stay out? U.S. Hands Security Responsibility of Najaf to Iraqi Forces: City Becomes One of the First to See Full-Scale U.S. Troop Pullout.

Tuesday: U.S. jets bomb two bridges in Iraq. Security incidents in Iraq, Sept 6.

At least 1,889, as of Monday: U.S. military deaths in Iraq.

Two British soldiers killed in wave of Iraq violence.

Insurgents Seize Key Town in Iraq.

U.S. Troops Cordon Part of Iraqi Town To Trap Insurgents.

Civil war looms as Iraq weeps over bridge of 1,000 sorrows.

Gunmen kidnap head of US security company in Iraq .

Insurgents Kill at Least 26 in Area North of Baghdad.

Gunmen attack 2 Sunni mosques in Iraq.

Saudi nationals killed in Iraq fighting.

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Katrina Will Be Bush's Monica: A Tomdispatch Interview with Cindy Sheehan.

After physically evicting an 82-year old member for uttering "Nonsense" while the war was being glorified: Labour steward insists 'I'm no thug'. I just work for one.

[In now repressive Britain:] After being evicted from the conference hall Mr Wolfgang, a member of the Labour Party for 57 years and a founding member of CND, had his conference accreditation confiscated by police citing terror laws.
He was given a hero's welcome when he returned, undeterred, to the hall yesterday and today told the Independent: "I had not intended to make myself the centre of national attention."

Former Marine in media glare as he joins Al-Jazeera after starring in film Control Room.

In one scene, Rushing talked about how revolted he was by Al-Jazeera showing dead American soldiers and interviews with American prisoners of war. Then he noted that he had seen video of Iraqi casualties on the network and not been affected by what he saw. "It upset me on a profound level that I wasn't as bothered as much the night before," he said in the film. "It makes me hate war."
When the film was released in 2004, reviewers commented on Rushing's candor. Rushing told The Village Voice that American media don't tell the whole story when they cover a war. "In America war isn't hell — we don't see blood, we don't see suffering. All we see is patriotism, and we support the troops. It's almost like war has some brand marketing here," he said in that interview.

Wife: GI disagreed with war. Died anyway.

Judith Miller to talk. Let's hope she's got something good to say: NY Times reporter released from jail in CIA probe case.

Another glimpse inside the mind: Humiliation a Factor in Suicide Attacks.

A rare jailhouse interview with the would-be suicide bomber revealed a common thread running through the rising worldwide phenomenon: Most attackers are driven not by poverty or ignorance, but by a lethal mix of nationalism, zealotry and humiliation.

Sen. Russ Feingold bemoans the one good thing to come out of the Iraq war: The President's Policies Are Breaking the U.S. Army.

Americans Keep Gloomy Views on Iraq War.

Only 27 per cent of respondents believe things in Iraq are going well.

Iraq war leaves Americans skeptical of force: poll.

Seventy-two percent of those questioned said the conflict has made them feel worse about the use of military force "to bring about democracy" down the road, compared to only 20 percent who said it made them feel better about such a prospect, the survey found. It also found that nearly three of every four Americans believe overthrowing Iraq's government and trying to establish a democracy in its place was not a good enough reason to go to war there. The survey did not address the question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

In an illustration of the statistical concept of regression to the mean: Bush's poll numbers up.

Danny Schechter: Media Coverage Disappearing in the Iraq War 'Endgame'.

Three reflections on last weekend's antiwar march. David Corn: Marching To Irrelevance. Jackson Thoreau: DC Peace Rally Provides Nuggets to Help Carry On Against the Bush Regime. And Tikkun: Right Spirit, Wrong Strategy.

One of the most horrifying stories out of New Orleans: Left to Die in a New Orleans Prison. Thousands of prisoners were abandoned for days when Katrina hit New Orleans; more than 500 are still missing.

Cindy Sheehan: http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/05/09/con05364.html.

I had not genuinely smiled since Casey was killed in Iraq. I thought my hope was buried along with my son and I was in a pit of hopeless despair. Camp Casey gave me back my hope because America came out in huge numbers to support us and they raised their voices with ours in unison to take our country back and to hold this administration accountable for the lies and mistakes that are killing tens of thousands of innocent people.... It is a wonderful thing to be doing something that makes a difference and it is a wonderful and miraculous thing to have my hope back. That is why I am smiling.

Juan Cole: The "American street" speaks: Will the Democratic Party listen? As more and more Americans turn against Bush's Iraq war, Democratic politicians remain silent. Their play-it-safe strategy isn't just cowardly, it also won't work

Fred Kaplan, seeing the impending catastrophe less than three weeks away: Just Vote No: Iraqis should reject the constitution.

And yet, the whole point of a constitution is to establish a foundation of consensus, to put forth a rule book that's accepted (even if reluctantly) by all the key factions; in short, to lay the groundwork on which politics can legitimately be played out. This, Iraq's constitution clearly does not do.

The new report from the International Crisis Group also warns of the catastrophe around the corner: Unmaking Iraq: A Constitutional Process Gone Awry.

A call by Patrick Doherty for urgent action, now. Before the October 15 election debacle: Iraq: Now Or Never.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Taking on Pelosi.

What's happening here is the utter failure of the Democratic Party to take the lead on one of the most important issues of our time. Pelosi has repeatedly voted and made statements supportive of Bush's war policies and has never taken on the role of an antiwar leader....
It raises not only the question of Pelosi's national leadership but of her ability to represent perhaps the most antiwar city in the nation. Pelosi has had a free ride since she defeated then-supervisor Harry Britt and went to Congress in 1986. Most of the time local Democrats are afraid to even criticize her. But this can't continue. San Francisco needs a voice in Washington that will vigorously oppose the occupation of Iraq and Bush's military policies. If this is how Pelosi wants to operate, someone needs to take her on in 2006. And if progressive Democrats won't challenge her in a primary (and they almost certainly won't), then this ought to become a national target for the Green Party. Matt?

Editorials on the scandal of prisoner abuse (aka torture). Los Angeles Times: Fighting for our values; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Investigate Iraq prisoner abuse; Boston Globe: Military abuse.

Newsday: Worst-case view of Iraq: Prince Saud's vision could come true.

Britain's Labor Party just a bunch of thugs manhandling 52 year old critics: Don't mention the war.

Arianna Huffington: Iraq Burns; Dems Look on the Bright Side.

David Michael Green, professor of political science at Hofstra University, on where Bush goes from here: George Bush in Hell.

It was all fun and games when everybody loved him. When the guy who had failed at everything in life except having the right last name all of a sudden was showing those elitist snobs who was tops after all. When the man with a Texas size inferiority complex got to be adored by millions as if he were some kind of religious icon. But what if that all changes? What if Diminutive George, just like LBJ before him, can't leave the completely scripted bubble his staff manufactures, just as such set-pieces become increasingly difficult to sustain? What if the Peevish President can't escape - even by going to Crawford or Camp David - the mothers of dead children, the baby-killer taunts, the stinging-because-they're-so-accurate chickenhawk accusations, the calls for his own daughters to go to Iraq, the possibility that everyone was right about him all along when they dismissed him as the family clown? What if all of a sudden, it sucks being president? Why bother, then?

Republicans scurry for cover: Rats Jump Off a Sinking Ship Called Bush. See also: Bush running low on GOP goodwill.

New York Times: The hard bigotry of no expectations.

Justin Raimondo is gloating: The Joy of Schadenfreude: The War Party is having a bad time of it – hooray!

In Katrina recover: Let the looting begin!

More on the looting: Lobbies Line Up For Relief Riches: Groups Portray Projects as Storm Aid; No-bid storm contracts prompt warnings; and: After the hurricanes, it's raining money.

Karen Kwiatkowsk sees changes in the country: It’s Happening Now.

In any case, it’s happening. In my all-Republican county of Shenandoah, it is doubtful many of my neighbors drove the 90 minutes into DC this weekend to express antiwar sentiment. But at the local gas station, two local men were overheard this weekend discussing the most recent price hike. One said, shaking his head, "That damn George Bush." The other local man nodded with "He has to go."

In reviving an old imperial strategy, James Kurth argues the US should utilize and exacerbate the Sunni-Shia split to weaken Islam: Splitting Islam: A Shi’ite-Sunni strategy for surviving the War on Terror.

Ivan Eland: US Must Resign Itself to 'Rogue' State Nukes.

John Nichols reminds us of a piece of hypocritical history: GOP doves once cooed exit strategy.

Joseph Galloway by taking responsibility for US mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan: Bush needs another Truman moment.

Rami G. Khouri, editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper: How To Drain The Swamp.

Jim Lobe: Can the US Military Presence Avert Civil War?

Iraq is tearing apart, says Riyadh.

Robert Dreyfuss writes of the death squad executions being conducted by the government and associated forces: Reverse Ba'athism.

A leading Iraqi voice in favor of a negotiated power-sharing arrangement between Sunni and Shiite forces in Iraq charged this weekend that militias in the service of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government in Baghdad tried to kill him, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, and other secular Iraqi nationalists by planting a car bomb in the Baghdad neighborhood where they live....
So dangerous is the situation in Iraq for anti-government activists that Sunni leaders who wanted to map out their campaign to vote down the draft Iraqi constitution on Oct. 15 had to meet in Amman, Jordan, for security reasons. Not only did this extraordinary fact by and large escape the notice of U.S. newspapers, but not a single major U.S. news outlet bothered to cover the three-day opposition meeting in Amman.

Ray McGovern asks are we complicity in torture as the Germans were during WWII?: Torturous Silence on Torture.

Where do American religious leaders stand on torture? Their deafening silence evokes memories of the unconscionable behavior of German church leaders in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Charge dismissed against Oregon Cheney protester.

"Does anyone really want to live in a country where the president and vice president are so fearful of the public's response that they carefully orchestrate who can and cannot come to their public events?"

Cindy Sheehan: My First Time being arrested. Rep. Conyers raises questions about the treatment of those arrested: Conyers on Arrest of Antiwar Protesters.

Civil disobedience begins: Mother who held vigil to protest Iraq war among 370 arrested.

Sheehan Meets With McCain. Both come away disappointed.

Eric Herter: Iraq War Veterans Presence in DC Unreported.

St. Patrick's Four not guilty of conspiracy (whew), but guilty of lesser charges: Activists Convicted in Bloody Flag Case.

Dahr Jamail: More Dissent, More Censorship.

Pat Tillman was against the Iraq war, we now find out, as the Pentagon's usual cover-up unravels: Family Demand Truth: New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman’s death.

Marvin Kalb: A hurricane strips off Bush's teflon.

Tom Engelhardt: "No Iraqis Left Me on a Roof to Die".

Cindy Sheehan Arrested During Anti-War Protest at Shrub's White House. See: video of arrest.

The International Crisis Group joins those perceiving looming disaster: Iraq constitution seen worsening insurgency.

Joshua Frank: It's Time for a Name Change: Democrats Flee Peace Protests.

Joan Vennochi: Democrats still fear dissent on Iraq.

Britons waking up: Most British think situation worsening in Iraq - poll .

Adam Lebowitz: Japan in Iraq in Japan: a perspective.

Dreaming of having a free press: Time for 'NY Times' to Explore Miller's Tale.

Raghida Dergham: Iran Receives Iraq as a “Gift” while Syria Flounders in Its Mistakes.

Iraq is the prize given by the US and the UK to Iran, which transformed the country into its primary shield to protect its nuclear capabilities.

Arnaud de Borchgrave: The disintegration of Iraq.

FEMA still up to old tricks: Katrina Redux? Beaumont Paper Finds Federal Storm Failure in Texas.

Gilbert Achar responds again to Juan Cole: Rebuttal by Achcar.

Salon's account of Saturday's demo: "Make levees, not war".

Even Juan Cole says get the ground troops out now! Why we Have to get the Troops Out of Iraq. However, unless he has changed his mind in the last few days, Cole still has this odd belief that keeping US airplanes raining mass murder from the air will somehow help stabilize the country and avoid civil war. I think the Lancet finding that the majority of civilian deaths were (reportedly) from US air attacks is important in this discussion, as is Sy Hersh's claim that the air war has been of an immense magnitude. We should remember, in Vietnam, many hundreds of thousands died AFTER the US stopped most ground operations and switched to sole reliance on mass bombings from the air. [See also Billmon's comments.]

Basically, if all the US military in Iraq is capable of is operations like Fallujah and Tal Afar, then they really need to get out of the country quick before they drive the whole country, and the region, into chaos....
I conclude that the presence of the US ground troops is making things worse, not better. Let's get them out, now, before they destroy any more cities, create any more hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, provoke any more ethnic hatreds by installing Shiite police in Fallujah or Kurdish troops in Turkmen Tal Afar. They are sowing a vast whirlwind, a desert sandstorm of Martian proportions, which future generations of Americans and Iraqis will reap.

Potential for hundreds of millions of deaths, and a few million to avoid it can't be found: Virus presents doctors with nightmare scenario.

400 vs. 150,000+: Hundreds Rally In Support Of U.S. Troops.

Veterans take lead in mass protest: For Many, Anger Has Grown Since Start of War.

As if it's up to Americans to decide, the Boston Globe endorses the Iraq federal constitution and the carve-up it entails: Iraq without illusions while the Washington Post condemns it: Wrong Way in Iraq.

Former US official who had no qualms over the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died as a result of sanctions now has qualms at declining US power and influence: Albright warns dark days ahead in Iraq.

"there are no good options at this point and the worst days may be ahead of us...."
"Instead of winning friends for America, it has poisoned our relations with many countries in the Mideast and the Muslim world," Albright told a conference on the role of citizens in shaping the nation's image abroad.

American Legion mobilizes pro-killing forces: merican Legion's tips for supporting troops: Veterans group produces guide to counter anti-war movement.

Mirza A. Beg: Beleaguered American soldiers in Iraq. "Many retired generals strongly criticized the Bush policy, but the serving generals could not. They could have, only with a resignation in hand. It is no great mystery, why the retired generals can see the falsehood but the serving generals cannot."

Incompetents everywhere: How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There? A TIME inquiry finds that at top positions in some vital government agencies, the Bush Administration is putting connections before experience.

[The] Bush Administration had a plan from day one for remaking the bureaucracy, and has done so with greater success. As far back as the Florida recount, soon-to-be Vice President Dick Cheney was poring over organizational charts of the government with an eye toward stocking it with people sympathetic to the incoming Administration. Clay Johnson III, Bush's former Yale roommate and the Administration's chief architect of personnel, recalls preparing for the inner circle's first trip from Austin, Texas, to Washington: "We were standing there getting ready to get on a plane, looking at each other like: Can you believe what we're getting ready to do?"

Washington rally size now estimated at 150,000-200,000! I hear C-Span estimated 500,000! Antiwar Protests Commence in Washington.

20,000+ in San Francisco: Thousands protest the Iraq war.

Justin Raimondo: Antiwar San Francisco -- Tell Nancy Pelosi She'd Better Shape Up.

On Monday, September 26, at noon, there is going to be a rally at the San Francisco Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, calling Pelosi to account for her pro-war stance. Not only that, but -- get this -- there will be a "mock trial" of Ms. Pelosi, to be held in the lobby!

More than 100,000! Organizers claimed 300,000: Thousands protest Iraq war, globalization. See photos. On the West Cost: Thousands of Californians Protest Iraq War and: War Protest Fills Seattle Streets.

Here is: Video of some of the speeches at the Washington rally. and here is a transcript of Cindy Sheehan: My Speech at UFPJ Rally.

Pull out or stay in? Juan Cole defends his position supporting continued US presence in Iraq against Michael Schwartz' critique: Schwartz: US out Now . Gilbert Achcar responds, with another Coledefense: Achcar Replies.

Needless to say, I'm with Schwartz and Achar on this one. For one thing, Cole writes as if he was Commander in Chief and could dictate the details of US policy. This is, of course, silly. If the US stays, it will pursue the US's objectives in Iraq: permanent military bases, a installing pro-US government, and US/multinational control of the Iraqi economy. These goals will necessitate the US manipulating the political situation in various ways, which will maintain an Iraqi sense of being under occupation. Resistance is inevitable. So Cole's solution is, at best, a recipe for long-term low grade civil war.
Further, Cole significantly underestimates the costs in lives of continued US involvement. the Lancet study estimated that, as of September 2004, 100,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed, mostly by US bombs. Even if one believes this was an overestimate (and it may well be an underestimate), after another year of relentless US attacks and bombing, the total number of deaths must be truly horrendous. If, as Cole suggests, the US keeps its air force there, the deaths from ruthless bombing will continue.
It appears that, in the current situation, the Shia leadership are quite happy to have US troops continue to fight their Sunni opponents. This fighting protects the United Iraqi Alliance as it creates a pro-Iranian Islamic state in much of Iraq. These leaders have no reason to compromise with the Sunnis as long as they have US tanks, air planes, and troops to do much of the fighting. Occupation seems only to be hardening positions all around, increasing the risks of full-scale civil war.
This full-scale civil war need not take the form of large battles, as Cole claims. Many can and will die if the current trend toward ethnic cleansing escalates. Large-scale massacres of populations hardly require full set battles.
Recent events in Basra have shown yet again that any any fantasy that Iraqi authorities can exert any significant restraining force on occupation troops is just wishful thinking. So continued US presence means continued occupation, fighting, and dying.
Now, none of us know what will happen if the US should withdraw, except that deaths from US attacks will cease. There is at least a chance that the Iraqi factions might seek a compromise. That possibility seems very unlikely under conditions of continued occupation.

Did Wesley Clark turn the Out of Iraq Caucus into the Stay in Iraq Caucus? Clark Sways Some on Iraq Strategy.

It'd time to march, says Mark Engler: March Madness.

Matthew Yglesias: Victory is What?

Truth is Contempt of Court for St. Patrick's Four: Peace Activists Charged With Contempt for Defending Themselves.

In sum, what we have here is a case where a judge, bent on putting away four peaceniks, has, in a biased way, aided an incompetent federal prosecutor whose entire case is about stirring up animosity against four non-violent protesters, as if they represented a great threat to law and order.

St. Patrick's Four: Blood Wrath: Talking with Clare Grady, one of the first Iraq war protestors to face federal conspiracy charges

Congressional candidate: Speaker says he’s not against war, only this war in Iraq.

At least they meet before they reject: What Hillary Told Cindy: Sheehan and company get face time with senators Clinton, Reid, Lieberman. McCain’s next.

A new film documents the experience of a squad of American soldiers in Falluja in winter 2004. Winner of a number of film awards. Now playing in select theaters: Occupation: Dreamland. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds amazing. See the review in the Nation Anywhere But Here

Occupation: Dreamland is an unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraq city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. A collective study of the soldiers unfolds as they patrol an environment of low-intensity conflict creeping steadily towards catastrophe. Through the squads activities Occupation: Dreamland provides a vital glimpse into the last days of Falluja. The film documents the citys waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it.
Village Voice review:] For the invaluable Occupation: Dreamland, filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds followed the 82nd Airborne Division in Falluja in early 2004, mere weeks before the charred corpses of contractors were paraded through the streets. What emerges from the night-vision raids, confused culture clashes, and agitated downtime is at once an eerie portrait of a city quietly about to explode and an unnervingly intimate look at eight young soldiers that accords their individuality due scrutiny. The implicit question that underscores the troops' daily routine but that they can't afford to express too often—why the fuck are we here?—is deafening by the end.

The worst charge: Looser! Fewer than half think U.S. will win in Iraq: More than half say country should speed up withdrawal.

Michael Schwartz & Tom Engelhardt: Why Immediate Withdrawal Makes Sense.

But where Dreyfuss and Cole are mistaken is in concluding that U.S. forces can be part of an effort "to prevent the outbreak of such a catastrophic civil conflict." Despite the plausible logic of this argument, the U.S. presence doesn't deter, but contributes to, a thickening civil-war-like atmosphere in Iraq. It is always a dicey matter to project the present into the future, though that never stopped anybody from doing so. The future, by definition, is unknown and so open to the unexpected. Nonetheless, it is far more reasonable, based on what we now know, to assume that if the U.S. were to leave Iraq quickly, the level of violence would be reduced, possibly drastically, not heightened. Here are the four key reasons:
  • 1. The U.S. military is already killing more civilian Iraqis than would likely die in any threatened civil war;
  • 2. The U.S. presence is actually aggravating terrorist (Iraqi-on-Iraqi) violence, not suppressing it;
  • 3. Much of the current terrorist violence would be likely to subside if the U.S. left;
  • 4. The longer the U.S. stays, the more likely that scenarios involving an authentic civil war will prove accurate.

Why not? Oh yeah, thy might not vote for occupation: Put withdrawal to the vote ... in Iraq.

But on October 15 there will be a referendum to seek views on the proposed new constitution. Why not grasp the opportunity to add an extra question to the referendum asking whether voters would like coalition troops to withdraw immediately, in three months, or a year, or with no timetable?

Tariq Ali: The logic of colonial rule.

Richard Cohen: Choose: Guns or Butter.

Robert Dreyfuss: Badr vs. Sadr.

Sadr—who is called, puzzlingly, a “Shiite nationalist” in the current issue of The Nation—is a fascist warlord and, if anything, even more fanatically religious than SCIRI. And Sadr isn’t afraid of violence.

Dominic Dicicero: Katrina+Iraq=A deadly combination: Another reason to question the war.

Miller's time almost there: Raleigh Congressman Brad Miller's a war critic, but not quite ready to say "Out of Iraq".

‘We’ve Lost Our Moral Voice’. As disaffection with war grows, Jewish activism conspicuous by its absence. Israel is the reason, say liberal rabbis.

But the new mood of quiet also taps something deeper in modern Jewish life: a growing reluctance to speak out on any controversial subjects when speaking out could have damaging political consequences, especially on the pro-Israel agenda.... For Jewish leadership, the Iraq issue “is all about Israel,” said Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of the Hillel at UCLA. “We’ve lost our moral voice,” he said. “Our leadership is paralyzed in terms of its capacity to speak out....”
“Even progressive Jewish students are reluctant to be outspoken,” he said. “There’s a kind of communal discipline that’s been imposed — not coercively, but it’s been internalized. It’s ironic, I read all these memos about how Jewish students are intimidated by professors, but nobody is talking about the fact that the Jewish community is intimidating its own.”

Boris Johnson, war supporting MP for Henley and editor of The Spectator: The war in Iraq was based on a lie - and policing Basra is an illusion.

An Irish view, reminding us of the British army's long tradition of murder and cover up in the line of duty: Basra attack echoes SAS actions in North.

The incident drew parallels with the March 1988 attack on the funeral of IRA volunteer Caoimhghin Mac Bradaigh. During that incident, two armed and undercover army intelligence operatives drove directly at the cortege in west Belfast. After firing a shot, both soldiers were subsequently captured, beaten and shot dead by the IRA....
Referring to the recent actions of British forces, Paul O'Connor said: “It is not at all suprising and is in fact for many people reminscent of the activities of the SAS here when they engaged in shoot-to-kill missions.” “Distressing as it is to see the human rights violations repeated in Iraq, it is equally distressing to see the media follow sheepishly behind the MOD line, so you have broadcasters like the BBC reporting a number of highly contested aspects of this affair as established fact," Mr O'Connor said. “We have the situation where all British soldiers in Iraq are keenly aware that in their ranks were convicted murderers – Fisher and Wright – one of whom had since been promoted," Mr O'Connor added.

Editorial, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Iraq: Facing civil war.

Editorial, Lahontan Valley News, NV Troops more valuable at home than in Iraq. [Fallon is a small community outside of Reno; very conservative.]

The Independent summarizes arguments pro and con four alternatives: Iraq: Is there a way out of this mess?

Critics Say EPA Withholding Information on New Orleans Contamination.

Associated Press: Bush's Words on Iraq Echo LBJ in 1967.

More Evidence The War On Terror Is Over. He put his homeland security adviser in charge of the Katrin investigation! Is Bin Laden in New Orleans? Or can he be relied upon to do as good a job of cover up as she's done on finding him?

Anti-war mum heads to White House. In preparation for: Peace by Pieces: New -- and Old -- Antiwar Protesters Hope to Turn Momentum Into a Movement.

Thousands of military families expected at massive antiwar demonstration Saturday: Battle Lines Behind the Battle Lines: Protest to Make D.C. A Flash Point for Rift Among Military Families.

Soldiers Back From Iraq Support Cindy Sheehan's Antiwar Stance on Video.Google.Com. View the video here.

Three-Bus 'Bring Them Home Now Tour' to Converge in D.C.; Will Arrive at US Capitol for Press Conference, Other Events Sept. 21.

Harassment in DC after NYC. Is there coordination? Cindy Sheehan Caravan Stopped by Capitol Police.

Frida Berrigan: America's Third World. America's bloated military spending leaves little left over to reduce the rampant poverty exposed by Hurricane Katrina.

An Interview with Camilo Mejia: "The Problem in Iraq is the US".

Minnesota Daily: Iraq’s death penalty: Iraq doesn’t have a constitution and despite this they are executing people.

It was no secret that Saddam was known for executing people based on political ideology, but it is not far-fetched to argue that this regime is doing the same.

Daily Star Editorial: Middle East now threatened by ripple effect of Washington's misguided policies.

Jihad El Khazen: Target: Decreasing American Consumption.

Michael T. Klare and: Tom Engelhardt: More Blood, Less Oil: The Failed US Mission to Capture Iraqi Petroleum.

[Engelhardt :] In the case of Iraq, one could simply say that the military conquest and occupation of the country essentially drove Iraq's oil deeper underground and beyond anyone's grasp. Hence, the signs should indeed say: "Blood for no oil." It's the perfect sorry slogan for a sad, brainless war; and even the Pentagon's resource-war planners might consider it a lesson worthy of further study as they think about our energy future.
[Klare:] The Iraqi insurgency is not monolithic, and it is not always possible to determine the intentions of its various components. Nevertheless, it is clear that oil -- that is, the association between Iraqi oil and the American occupation -- plays a central role in the insurgents' hazy ideology. "The insurgents used this," Iraqi-born oil consultant Falah Alijbury said of American plans to privatize the Iraqi oil industry. As he put it, the insurgents are telling fellow Iraqis, "Look, you're losing your country, you're losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable." From Alijbury's perspective, this is one of the insurgency's most powerful appeals.

Larry Sakin: America: Resembling What We Despise.

Kevin Zeese: 'The Most Expensive Military Effort in 60 Years': An interview with Erik Leaver, coauthor of The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops.

Justin Raimondo: Iraq: The Battle of Basra: ‘Democratic’ Iraq rises up – against the occupiers.

There is much talk of how the militias have "infiltrated" the Iraqi police, but this is nonsense. What is really happening is that the politicians who won the much vaunted elections, hailed by Bush and the War Party as a great step forward for "democracy" in Iraq, are not just taking office, they are taking power. They are also hiring their supporters – especially the ones who have military experience – as the local cops on the beat.
When these Iraqi cops ran into two undercover British soldiers who were "acting suspiciously," according to the Iraqis, a battle ensued. The Brits objected so strenuously to being questioned by the legally constituted authorities that they preferred to shoot first and ask questions later. Hmmmmm… Something tells me they were up to no good.

John M. "Mike" Joyce, a retired foreign service officer: Katrina likely to force the U.S. to define down success in Iraq .

The best argument anyone can make for staying in Iraq now is that it will make the mess there even worse if we leave. But even that argument is fallacious. We cannot change this traditional society of 26 million people into a modern state. Only they can do that. And with time, they will. But our presence there now only strengthens the forces of fundamentalism, obscurantism and stagnation embodied in people like al Zarqawi. By staying, we postpone the eventual emergence of stability in the area

Daily Mail: Iraq myths are cruelly exposed.

Iraq Worse Than Vietnam: Ex-UK Foreign Secretary Says Iraq Is a Bigger Disaster Than Vietnam, Blair Should Have Resigned.

"No prime minister who has gone to war on a false prospectus whatever good faith he may or may not have had should remain in office when it turns out to be the single biggest foreign policy disaster this country has known since the war," he said. Rifkind, who served as foreign secretary in 1995-97, is now a candidate for leader of the opposition Conservative Party. Rifkind did not call for a swift withdrawal of British forces.

Nir Rosen: The small, daily Abu Ghraibs.

In July I was in Mogadishu, Somalia. Men there wear T-shirts emblazoned "Fallujah," shops bear the name, too. In August I was in Pakistan, where magazines are sold dedicated to the heroes and martyrs of the town. In Saudi Arabia, the al-Qaida group that killed foreign workers in 2004 was named the Fallujah Squadron....
Fallujah of course was wiped off the map for its defiance of the U.S. occupation -- but it is useful to remember that the reason the resistance in Fallujah started was not because the town was special but because shortly after the war ended American troops shot dozens of peaceful demonstrators in two separate incidents. For every action, there is a reaction.
I spent about a year and a half in Iraq. It was obvious early on, and continues to be, that the main problem in Iraq, the main obstacle to progress, is the U.S. occupation. When it ends, attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq will end as well. It seems obvious, almost a tautology, but it is true worldwide as well. The American empire will cease to be a target when it ceases to directly or indirectly oppress weaker people....
An American withdrawal from Iraq and an Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories to the 1967 lines would do more to fight terrorism than any military action ever could. But there is one other thing we can do, too: We could attempt to imagine what it feels like to be on the other side of the Iraq equation -- living under military occupation and on the receiving end of American military violence -- and how we would react were we on that other side.

Ewen MacAskill: Lofty ambitions reduced to one: Iraq must not be seen as a failure.

Ambitions for Iraq are being drastically scaled down in private. A Foreign Office source said the goal of the US administration to turn Iraq into a beacon of democracy in the Middle East had long ago been shelved. "We will settle for leaving behind an Iraqi democracy that is creaking along," the source said.

Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal: Saudi says U.S. policy handing Iraq over to Iran.

"We fought a war together to keep Iran out of Iraq after Iraq was driven out of Kuwait," said Faisal, referring to the first Gulf War in 1991, when Saudi Arabia fought with U.S. and other allied forces to liberate Kuwait after Iraq invaded. "Now we are handing the whole country over to Iran without reason," he said.
Iranians, Faisal said, go into areas that American forces have pacified and "pay money ... install their own people (and) even establish police forces and arm the militias that are there." "And they are protected in doing all this by the British and American forces," he added.

An anniversary for the Project for the New American Century. They got their wish. Now they'll be among the big loosers: Uncertain Anniversary for Iraq War Champions.

The Next President of the United States: Chuck Hagel, because leading Democrats are idiots.

The Democrats seem to be deluding themselves again into thinking that events will do for them what they can’t do for themselves. While they wait expectantly, one Republican Senator is walking down the road to the White House. If Hagel’s the Ghost of Presidents Future, Democrats may echo Ebenezer Scrooge’s question: “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?" The answer’s in their hands.

What a difference a storm makes: Support for Bush's Iraq policy dives after Katrina.

A Gallup poll published on Monday found 66 percent of respondents favored the immediate withdrawal of some or all of the U.S. troops in Iraq, a 10 percentage point jump in two weeks. Bush's personal approval on Iraq fell from 40 percent to 32 percent in the same period. In a CBS/New York Times poll the previous week, 75 percent said Bush had no clear plan for bringing U.S. troops home.

Missy Comley Beattie: Bush's Katrina Bling Bling: Neoconservatism is Never Having to Mean You're Sorry.

Bush, God, and Catholic Charities screwed Katrina refugees: Faith-based disaster.

According to LA Governor, FEMA pledges busses to evacuate New Orleans, then refused to supply them, nixing the use of school busses "because they are not air conditioned": Blanco says feds pledged buses.

Bush's death toll rises: Katrina's Death Toll Climbs Past 1,000.

The Village Voice: The New Fight Against the War: A big march in D.C. marks a change in tactics for those who want the U.S. out of Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan Takes on the Democrats, Hillary Clinton: The anti-war activist has plenty to say—and it’s not all about Bush.

In an interview after her speech, Sheehan told the Voice she was “so frustrated” by leading Democrats like Clinton “who should be leaders on this issue, but are not.” Already, she has set up a future meeting with New York’s junior senator this weekend. And she plans to sit down with the state’s senior senator, Chuck Schumer, too. “It’s time for them to step up and be the opposition party,” she said. “This war is not going to end unless the Democrats are on board with us.”

From mothers to widows: War widow peace activist: A Simi Valley mother steps from her hometown into the national spotlight.

In eight months, House, 27, became a mother, a widow and a vocal, committed opponent of the war that claimed her husband. She stepped from her hometown of Simi Valley into the vastness of the national stage....
For House, the activism is a gift to her late husband, an honoring of his own desire to speak out against the policies leading to the war and the troubling execution of the mission that found him and his Marines ill-equipped for the tasks they were given. "This is something my husband would want me to do," House said. Susan House, John's mother, agreed. "This is what we're supposed to be doing," said Susan House, a Simi Valley resident. "If John was alive, John would have been there. John supported the troops, but he wanted to expose what was going on when he was over there."

Download: The Agenda for C21 by The Used Johnnys. Political sound bites - dizzy sax and piercing feedback mixed to tell a story of deceit, greed and death. The message is simple: no war based on greed and lies - no conflict resolved by occupation and excessive armed force. From the performers: We found ourselves at number six in the Bulgarian underground charts and number thirteen in the Top 100 Underground Charts USA. The video was made by a Canadian gentleman who sent it to us completely out of the blue. We were listed in the Cindy Sheehan Musicians Hall of Fame and copies are held at The Centre for Political Song, Glasgow, Scotland

Tom Hayden: Calls for Withdrawal from Iraq Echoing in Washington.

Ari Berman: Prelude to an Exit Strategy.

In Canada: U.S. veteran seeks refugee status, leaves army after Iraq war duty.

62% want to pull out some (27%) or all (32%). Only the Democrats and republicans want to stay: Bush Has No Exit Plan for Iraq, Say Americans. And people don't like Shrub very much either: Promises fail to boost Bush's profile. And 54% want to use the money wasted in Iraq to help Katrina victims.

[Promises:] For the first time in a CNN/USA Today poll, a majority said Mr Bush was not a strong and decisive leader. Half said they would not call him honest and 56% said he did not care about people like them....
[I]n a sign of trouble for Mr Bush, 54% said the Katrina recovery, which is expected to cost up to $200bn (€164bn), should be paid for by cutting spending on the war in Iraq.

Robert B. Reich: Bush administration paradox explained.

The real answer is that the same discipline and organization that's made the White House into a hugely effective political machine has hobbled its capacity to govern. Blocking data from lower-level political appointees and civil servants that's inconsistent with what it wants to do or sheds doubt on its wisdom, for example, may be effective politics, in the short term. It keeps the media and the opposition party at bay. But the same squelching of troublesome information prevents top policy makers from ever getting the data they need.

Greg Mitchell: Putting the 'N.Y. Times' On the Spot on Iraq . What will it take, exactly, for The New York Times to declare on its editorial page that the U.S. should begin to bring to a close its adventure in Iraq? Surely the costs of Katrina, fresh troubles in Basra and Najaf, and even the death of one of its reporters, should finally push the paper over the edge.

J-Prof's FOIA Suit Circumvents Government 'Censorship' of coffin photos.

George Galloway is a good debater. He avoids directly addressing Palast's claims, while spreading plenty of ad homonym attacks: Reply to Greg Palast. See Greg Palast: What's Left? Galloway versus Hitchens; Progressives versus Ourselves.

Ivan Eland: Democratic Hallucinations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Three comments on the rising anti-Syria chorus from the War Party. Mona Eltahawy: Syria and the U.S should help each other out of trouble; Joshua Landis: Don't push Syria away; and: Gary Leupp: Their Patience and Ours: Khalilzad Threatens Syria.

Mass murder in New Orleans: 154 Patients Died, Many in Intense Heat, as Rescues Lagged.

Paul Craig Roberts: Will Neocon Fanaticism Destroy America?

The "cakewalk war" is now two and one-half years old. U.S. casualties (dead and wounded) number 20,000. As 20,000 is the number of Iraqi insurgents according to U.S. military commanders, each insurgent is responsible for one U.S. casualty....
According to the Sept. 1 Manufacturing & Technology News, the Government Accounting Office has reported that over the course of the cakewalk war, the U.S. military's use of small caliber ammunition has risen to 1.8 billion rounds. Think about that number. If there are 20,000 insurgents, it means U.S. troops have fired 90,000 rounds at each insurgent. Very few have been hit. We don't know how many. To avoid the analogy with Vietnam, until last week the U.S. military studiously avoided body counts. If 2,000 insurgents have been killed, each death required 900,000 rounds of ammunition.

Mother of Scottish soldier killed in Iraq to join Washington anti-war protest.

Democracy? New York City police try and silence Cindy Sheehan: NYPD Unplugs Cindy Sheehan: City’s Finest pulls move even Bush wouldn’t have tried.

Cindy Sheehan: Iraq and Katrina: Failed Bookends of a Bush Presidency.

What Bush's Katrina shows once again is that my son died for nothing. If you listen to Bush –- and fewer and fewer are, thank goodness -- we are in Iraq in part due to 9/11. All our president has been talking about has been protecting this country since 9/11. That's why people voted for him in the last election. Katrina shows it's all as sham, a fraud, a disaster as large as Katrina itself. Hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of innocent lives wasted. What have we achieved? Nothing. Casey died for nothing and Bush says others have to die for those that have died already.

Poor Tony: Tony Blair Iraq nursery rhyme wins first prize.

A children's nursery rhyme about Tony Blair lying over the war in Iraq has won first prize in a nationwide competition to find the best new children's verse for the millennium. 'Baker Tony’s Pizza' is seemingly about a pizza maker but in traditional "nursery rhyme-style" has clear political undertones. It tells the story of a dishonest baker called Tony who makes children cry by cooking them a horrible pizza containing sawdust and red dye - but claiming it is cheese and tomato. It beat off 10,000 other entries and was unveiled today (Monday) by a satellite TV station as the top nursery rhyme of the modern day for a new generation of children.
Baker Tony's Pizza:
Baker Tony baked a pizza
very round and thin
He said he added olives
but he never put them in

The stuff that he had grated
and sprinkled on to please
was only yellow sawdust
although he called it cheese
the rich tomato topping
was nothing more than dye
so Baker Tony’s pizza made all the children cry

Angela Martin, aged 57

Chris Patten: History will judge Blair as a defender of Bush's agenda above Britain's. The prime minister's role has been to find excuses for America. His European ambitions have been thwarted .

And British aid to Katrina victims is likely to be destroyed en masse: US Bins UK Aid.

ed tape has stopped hundreds of tons of chicken, rice and patŽ from reaching hungry evacuees. Instead, it is sitting in a warehouse the size of a football pitch. Unless the bureaucratic confusion is cleared up soon, food relief that cost British taxpayers millions could be sent for incineration.

Down, down, down: Bush approval rating at 40 percent: Majority disapprove of the handling of Katrina, Iraq. 63% want US troops to start coming home. Another 40% and the Democrats might hear.

And support for his management of the war in Iraq has dropped to 32 percent, with 67 percent telling pollsters they disapproved of how Bush is prosecuting the conflict.... Fifty-nine percent said they considered the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake. That figure is the highest recorded in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Only 39 percent said the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do. Sixty-three percent said they wanted to see some or all U.S. troops withdrawn from that country.

Even in "home" state: Texans growing uneasy over Iraq.

Support for the war in Iraq is slipping in President Bush's home state, with only 28 percent of Texans saying the conflict is going well, poll results released Sunday show.... Support among Texans for the Iraqi war has been relatively anemic for the past year, but the latest numbers are the lowest since the U.S.-led invasion began in March 2003. Texans are nearly equally divided on how they think Bush is handling the war: Fifty percent said they approve while 46 percent said they disapprove. By contrast, in spring 2003, when Allied forces toppled Saddam Hussein's government, 78 percent of respondents said Bush was doing a "good" or "excellent" job with the war....
ut even given the present unease, 54 percent of respondents said they disagreed that the United States should withdraw forces from Iraq in the next six months, and 60 percent said they were at least somewhat confident of an eventual U.S. victory.

Seeing political opportunity: Kerry, Edwards blast Bush over Katrina. What do they have to say about the Iraq debacle?

Katrina costs ok to mention, but not war costs: Dodging the Costs of the Warfare State.

Fierce criticism of White House policies is routinely compatible with support for militarism. When the Times condemned the Bush administration’s handling of hurricane relief in a Sept. 2 editorial, the final paragraph included this unequivocal sentence: “America clearly needs a larger active-duty Army.”

US: Labor and the Iraq War.

The bottom line is this: Iraqi trade unionists and women’s groups are fighting a life and death struggle to prevent the imposition of theocratic rule in Iraq. Now the Bush Administration is in a quandary. It wants stability for oil, and a new constitution for stability. But at what price? It doesn’t look good when the Administration is seen hailing the freedoms for women in Afghanistan while allowing the repression of women in Iraq. Or championing freedom and democracy in Iraq while denying trade unionists the freedom to organize in Iraq – a freedom, incidentally, that’s also under assault in our own country.

In Afghanistan. J. Alexander Thier, director of the Project on Failed States at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law: Afghanistan At Halftime. While this claim comes from the Times of India. [I have no idea as to its veracity]: Osama organizing Taliban: report.

Justin Raimondo discusses the great Anthrax Scare we've all forgotten about: Covering the Tracks of the Anthrax Attacks: What, where, why – who?

Recruiting for Killers-R-US: Breaking the Army’s Digital Trojan Horse .

Hanter, "a middle age guy claiming Cherokee heritage who works from a studio out in the sticks in Southwest Tennessee": What Went Wrong.

The fact is, I am happy politics exist. Politics allows those subhumans totally beyond hope and with no redeeming social graces something to do with their lives and keeps them from getting in the way of the rest of us. On occasion when the random individual commits some supremely idiotic act that really annoys me and I wish to make to him the ultimate insult, I suggest he is the sort of person who should consider a career in politics....
No one will look at babies made homeless by a force of nature and refuse to promise unlimited government funds, nor can Washington see clear to a satisfactory solution to the civil war in Iraq. No one leaps into a swamp. You walk in one foot at the time until you suddenly realize you are over your head and there is no way out. Mister President George W. Bush is standing in the swamp and his options are limited in the extreme. I wish him the best for all of us, but there is precious little optimism to be had.

Rev. William A. Alberts: Mainstream Religious Leaders in Bushtime: Guardians of the Status Quo.

The double standard of various mainstream religious leaders is seen in comparing their strong public condemnation of the "barbaric," "evil," "cowardly" bombings in London with their "shared concern over the war in Iraq." It is seen in who especially they decide are "the perpetrators" that they "need to bring to justice." Religious leaders could have included the same exact language- with far greater moral outrage--to publicly condemn President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for their pre-emptive war against Iraq. But did they?

Whereas in Britain: Bishops want to apologise for Iraq war.

Bishops of the Church of England want all Britain’s Christian leaders to get together in public to say sorry for the war in Iraq and its aftermath.

Shifting international alliances confound: News Analysis: As coalitions shift, Bush is confounded.

Historians Against the War: What We Are Doing to Try to Stop the War in Iraq.

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Sorry, Hillary: Clinton launches searing attack on his successor .

From the New York Daily News: Chavez' Surprise for Bush: Offering to Sell Cheap Oil to America's Poor.

On his drive from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan this week, Chavez noted, "Out of every 100 cars I saw on the road, 99 had only one person in the car. "These people were using up fuel," he said. "They were polluting the environment. This planet cannot sustain that mode of life."
That's the kind of message that can get a man killed these days - or at least labeled a dangerous madman by folks in the White House.

British Colonel Tim Collins "gave a celebrated speech to his troops about their mission to liberate, not conquer, in Iraq. He has since left the army:" This is a mess of our own making. Tim Collins told his troops this was a war of liberation, not conquest. Now he says that he was naive to believe it. Also by Collins: Iraq on the slide: is there time to save it?

[This is a mess:] One cannot help but wonder what it was all about. If it was part of the war on terror then history might notice that the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting sergeant for al-Qaeda ever: a sort of large-scale equivalent of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972, which in its day filled the ranks of the IRA. If it was an attempt to influence the price of oil, then the motorists who queued last week would hardly be convinced. If freedom and a chance to live a dignified, stable life free from terror was the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last week who would have settled for what they had under Saddam.
[Iraq on the slide:] Until recently I was optimistic for the future unity of Iraq.

Historic Woolsey Hearing -- Iraq: It's Not 'Whether' to Get Out; It's 'How' to Get Out.

John Nichols: Galloway's frankness invigorates, shocks Americans.

Democracy Now! The Militarization of New Orleans: Jeremy Scahill Reports from Louisiana.

Clare Short: The honourable member of Parliament.

"It has made me think about whether I have wasted my life in thinking that the Labour Party is the instrument of justice. It's a miserable set of conclusions to reach; I would prefer not to have reached them. But we have to face up to what has happened."

The Republican ghouls search the bodies: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Naomi Archer: "It's Not That the Government Isn't Responding, They are Obstructing the Response": Real Reports of Katrina Relief.

America is full of the wrong kind of people: Fighting the Moral Decay of "Those People". their parents should be held responsible for the depravity of their children.

Should we be perhaps separating these folks out from the rest of society, in recognition of the inherent danger they are to our security, our stability, and our moral and social fabric?

Hell No! We Won't Pay! US worries about the toll Iraq is taking, poll finds.

Ninety percent of those surveyed, including a majority of Republicans, disapprove of Washington cutting spending on domestic programs to pay for the war, almost 80 percent would not be willing to pay more in taxes and 55 percent disapprove of eliminating recent tax cuts to raise revenue.

In Virginia: Bush's job rating plunges to 42%.

FEMA pays out millions to crooks, and routinely hires criminals [literally] as inspectors. They pay money in politically sensitive [for Republicans] areas: Coming 'Sun-Sentinel' Series: Katrina Only Latest of FEMA Foul-Ups.

"It was absolutely incredible. In Miami, the hurricane never hit, it never came on shore, and we found FEMA paid out $31 million for a storm that never came ashore," Mauker said....
It reports that FEMA inspectors receive little training -- and that a shocking number of them have criminal records....
"We found the same waste in Detroit, Baton Rouge, Cleveland, Los Angeles," Mauker said. One example: After a season of wild fires and mudslides in Los Angeles, FEMA paid $5.2 million in disaster relief to families in Watts, far from the affected areas....
The series estimates that between 1999 and 2004, FEMA squandered $400 million in money spent "for storms that never occurred or for issues that were miles away from" a disaster site, Mauker said.

The Shrub's Priorities.

Chavez Takes Bush to Task Over Iraq War, getting, according to the AP, "what observers said was the loudest applause of the summit."

World leaders at the summit had been asked to speak for five minutes but Chavez ran long and when the presiding diplomat passed him a note saying his time was up, he threw it on the floor. He said if Bush could speak for 20 minutes, so could he.

Robert Fisk insists there will not be civil war in Iraq: Why is it that we and America wish civil war on Iraq? Others are not so sure: 'Who said there is no civil war? It has started'.

What the imperial, colonial powers will not learn - let us use their real names - and cannot learn, is that Iraq is not a sectarian state but a tribal nation. Iraqi men and women marry by religion rather than by affiliation....

Download James McMurtry's: We Can't Make It Here. It's great! See: Music That Bush Clearly Doesn't Hear.

Paul Krugman. Katrina recovery effort: Not the New Dea.

There's every reason to believe the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, like the failed reconstruction of Iraq, will be deeply marred by cronyism and corruption.

St. Patrick's Four Protesters Offer an Explanation.

Shrub to Kofi Annan [before requesting a potty reak]: 'Has the place blown up?' You can't make this stuff up!

For entertainment: Galloway and Hitchens slug it out. Watch the debate courtesy of Democracy Now!

David Corn: Debating Iraq with Rich Lowry.

Lowry said, a surge of "patriotism" had swept through young American adults after 9/11, compelling them to sign up to fight for their country and the noble cause of promoting freedom and democracy overseas. I asked him whether this surge of "patriotism" had flowed through the offices of National Review? Had it depopulated his staff? How many interns had it claimed? Lowry did not answer this question.

Pee break permission note flies around the world: Reuters Says Bush Photo Not 'Malicious,' Reports Wide Interest.

John Berger: Ignorance and abdication that amounts to madness: All political leaders sometimes parry with the truth, but with Bush the disconnections are systematic.

David Letterman's Top Ten Questions For The Fema Director Application.

10. "Are you able to convey a false sense of security?"
9. "What percentage of your resume is fabricated?"
2. "Can you screw up bad enough to take the heat off the president's mistakes?"

Evanston joins Chicago: Council OKs resolution on Iraq War.

Madison: Groups urge war referendum.

Pasadena couple sues city over anti-Bush, Iraq war signs.

Iraq War Critic Deported to US from Australia.

New Poll Shows Americans Want Troops Brought Home: Top Dems Ignore the Public.

Hide, hide, hide: GOP bars release of Plame files, war memos.

Robert Dreyfuss: Iraq: No Exit?

Minnesota Daily: Stop the war: Here’s how: Sudden withdrawal and an indefinite occupation are not serious options.

Currently, the Bush administration is not actively pursuing peace or withdrawal. Only continuous popular pressure from the American public can force President George W. Bush from his dormancy. Already, 62 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll and that number grows.

Kevin Zeese: Katrina Is the Iraq War Come Home to Roost.

Scoundrel Time! Molly Ivins: Follow the money for the real story.

Since Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's campaign manager in 2000, announced that he was leaving FEMA in December 2002, it appears he has been busy making sure reconstruction contracts in Iraq go to companies that give generously to the Republican Party.

Chicago biggest city yet to call for bringing troops home.

Action Alert! The first and only federal conspiracy trial arising out of civil resistance to the Iraq War begins September 19 in Binghamton, NY. Sign the Letter of Support there!

Amnesty International strongly condemns the latest suicide bomb attack. See their July report: Iraq: In cold blood: abuses by armed groups.

Patrick Walters: Terror cells in for the long haul.

Bruce Hoffman of the Rand Corporation said that, unlike recent conventional military conflicts that were notable for their relatively short duration, Islamist terror groups were prepared for a long war lasting decades.

Media Matters for America: NYT's Brooks revealed that "from Day One," the Bush White House "decided our public relations is not going to be honest" -- why hasn't he written about this?

[W]hat Brooks's September 11 account adds is that Bush is being intentionally dishonest -- in Brooks's words, "totally tactical and totally insincere" -- in resisting such public admissions and in blaming others when failures are too obvious to deny....
BROOKS: From Day One, they had decided that our public relations is not going to be honest. Privately, they admit mistakes all the time. Publicly -- and I've had this debate with them since Day One; I always say admit a mistake, people will give you credit --....
BROOKS: Not with him [the President], but they represent what he believes, which is, if you admit a mistake, you get no credit from your enemies, and then you open up another week's story, because the admission of a little mistake leads to the admission of big mistakes and another week's story. It's totally tactical and totally insincere.

Absolutely Must Read! Greg Palast takes on dictator loving, corrupt, George Galloway. He poignantly raises the issue of what the left really stands for: What's Left? Galloway Versus Hitchens; Progressives Versus Ourselves.

Sidney Blumenthal: Breach of a myth: After Katrina, the country no longer believes in Bush the protector. His presidency is ruined.

The deepest wound is not that he was incapable of defending the country but that he has shown he lacks the will to do so. In Bush's own evangelical language, he revealed his heart.

Iraqi exile Adil E. Shamoo, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine: Looking for Peace in Iraq.

Recently, I acted as a translator for a day to labor leaders from Iraq who were touring the United States. These courageous Iraqis spanned my native country’s entire political spectrum. But they all were against the insurgents and at the same time wanted to end the occupation as soon a possible and peacefully. Moreover, over 100 members of the Iraqi parliament have signed a petition calling to end the occupation.

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, associate director of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University: Time to Talk to Al Qaeda?

Iraq war hearings set for today. See: Tom Hayden Comments for Congressional hearing on Iraq exit strategy, Sept. 15, 2005. Republicans bury resolution to investigate: Lawmakers Debate Downing Street Memo on Iraq War.

Opposition = popularity: Feingold's war stance may be battle plan for 2008.

Since he proposed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2006, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold has met with two reactions within his own party. One is acclaim from activists, liberals and war critics. The other is a polite but cold shoulder from the Democratic establishment....
He also said that the intense focus in Washington on the disaster along the Gulf of Mexico would make it more difficult to have the kind of debate about Iraq he had hoped to spur. With Hurricane Katrina dominating the news, a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday reported the lowest level of public attention to Iraq since the war started.

From Army Times: Top Democrat calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

“Sometimes, it takes a catastrophe to put events into perspective, to shake us and sharpen our clarity of vision,” said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. “We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq when our own people are so much in need, not only now, in New Orleans, but all across America for everything from education to health care to homeland security to securing our own borders,” Byrd said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Quit Iraq, say Japanese MPs.

More members of Japan’s newly elected parliament believe Japanese troops should be withdrawn from Iraq when their mission expires in December than believe they should stay, a survey said today. Of the 480 MPs who won seats in Parliament’s lower house in elections on Sunday, 41% said Japan should pull out its troops from Iraq, while 34% said the deployment should be extended, according to the survey by the nationwide newspaper Mainichi.

Now for some imperial fantasy and wishful thinking by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.: For Success in Iraq, Change Course. Or should we take this crap as humor?

Joanne Skerrett reviews Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War by Tim Pritchard: A gruesome chapter in the fight for Iraq. Is this the same brilliantly executed invasion of Iraq we read about?

The frustrations of war echoes throughout, and it is exasperating to read about the many mistakes made by the world's best military. Miscommunication, blunders, and lack of foresight bring about errors, several of them fatal. Radio communications break down. Equipment stops functioning. Commanding officers fail to lead. Plans are scrapped, confusion reigns, and several times young Marines find themselves abandoned, making their own decisions on how to fight.
''Ambush Alley" is starkly honest; it does not take political sides or attempt to make a statement. Pritchard does a great job of portraying the Marines in all their human dimensions. They agonize over having to kill Iraqis, having to discern between those who would hurt them and those who are innocent. It is even more agonizing to consider that most of these men are barely into their 20s. Once one gets to know their hopes, dreams, and backgrounds, it is wrenching to see them go through this horrible experience.

Support Our Troops? Iraq vets struggle to find jobs at home.

Zia Mian: The Unraveling of the US Military.

Veterans say parallels between Vietnam and Iraq conflicts make them sad, angry.

Jihad El Khazen on the Oil-for-Food scandal: Stream of Ignorance.

There is a scandal in the oil for food program, but its hero, or villain, was Saddam Hussein, and not Kofi Annan or some other official. Saddam Hussein received money for smuggling oil, and he distributed bribes to states and individuals in return for services rendered to his regime. Beyond Saddam Hussein’s financial crimes, the biggest violation in the oil for food program was the violation of international sanctions to export oil to Jordan and Turkey; the finger of accusation is pointed here at the US, and no other party or country....
I would like Bahr al-Ulum to investigate the environment of plunder in the days of Paul Bremer; this latter-day high commissioner took over Iraq with $6 billion remaining in the oil for food program and $10 billion in sales of Iraqi oil. He gave Iraqi ministries $8.8 billion. Where is the money? There is not a single receipt to indicate the way it was spent. Who stole the funds?...
However, the bigger scandal, and a continuing one, is the production of Iraqi oil without meters to measure output; this means that the plunder that takes place on a single day equals the theft from the oil for food program for a year. Of course, there must be some honest self-sacrificing people in the Iraqi government, working for the service of their country. However, there are thieves and agents who came on the back of US tanks; their hatred goes beyond Saddam Hussein to Iraq itself, and they have worked successfully to destroy it and the result is here for everyone to see....
met businessmen with interests in Iraq, including Iraqis, Lebanese and Syrians. They all said that one has to pay bribes for each contract he signs. Or, the percentage of the Iraqi official’s commission is deducted from the contract. Before the thieves and foreign agents start repudiating what I have just said, I’ll say quickly that the inspector general, an American, found such corruption in 18 contracts he reviewed and there are now criminal investigations into more than 100 other contracts. This is true corruption, the kind of corruption that Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum doesn’t see.

John Pilger: News From Behind The Facade.

In his classic work, The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of American policies and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, writes that for America to dominate the world, it cannot sustain a genuine, popular democracy because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion... Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization". He describes how he secretly persuaded President Carter in 1976 to bankroll and arm the jihadis in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a means of ensuring America's Cold War dominance. When I asked him in Washington, two years ago, if he regretted that the consequences were al-Qaeda and the attacks of 11 September, he became very angry and did not reply; and a crack in The Facade closed.

Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri: American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part 4: Obedience, Defiance, and Conscience.

Georgie Anne Geyer: US, Arab States' Weak Centers Have led to Breakdowns.

Yet another bad poll: Bush support is near lowest ever, poll says.

Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse: Corporations of the Whirlwind: The Reconstruction of New Oraq.

Jim Lobe: Will Katrina Bring an Isolationist Revival?

Arianna Huffington: Media Coverage of Iraq Suffers After Katrina.

Jayati Ghosh gives an Indian view: The destruction of New Orleans.

Compare this experience to another American natural disaster, in a very different but neighbouring country. A year ago, in September 2004, a Category Five hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. The civil defence system in Cuba is embedded in the community, so everyone knew what to do and where to go. And Cuban government leaders were visibly leading from the front in organising the relief.
In Cuba it would have been unthinkable just to push people into a stadium and leave them there for days, as was done in New Orleans. There are neighbourhood-based shelters, all with medical personnel. The evacuation also involves moving animals, TV sets and refrigerators, so that people are not reluctant to leave their homes.
After Hurricane Ivan, the United Nations International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction cited Cuba as a model for hurricane preparation [paging John Bolton], saying that "the Cuban way could easily be applied to other countries with similar economic conditions and even in countries with greater resources that do not manage to protect their citizens form natural disaster." The Cubans have now offered help in the form of doctors and volunteers, to the stricken coastline of the US.

Nincompoop didn't know his crucial role in triggering federal aid. Meanwhile, memo shows that the White House, and President Bush were directly involved, and directly responsible for the slow delay and many of the deaths: Chertoff delayed federal response, memo shows.

The Chertoff memo indicates that the response to Katrina wasn't left to disaster professionals, but was run out of the White House, said George Haddow, a former deputy chief of staff at FEMA during the Clinton administration and the co-author of an emergency management textbook. "It shows that the president is running the disaster, the White House is running it as opposed to Brown or Chertoff," Haddow said. Brown "is a convenient fall guy. He's not the problem really. The problem is a system that was marginalized...."
A former FEMA director under President Reagan expressed shock by the inaction that Chertoff's memo suggested. It showed that Chertoff "does not have a full appreciation for what the country is faced with - nor does anyone who waits that long," said Gen. Julius Becton Jr., who was FEMA director from 1985-1989. "Anytime you have a delay in taking action, there's a potential for losing lives," Becton told Knight Ridder. "I have no idea how many lives we're talking about. ... I don't understand why, except that they were inefficient."

An important analyses of the draft Iraqiconstitution by Roger B. Myerson, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago : Federalism and the Iraqi Constitution.

Pittsburgh police brutalize antiwar protestor with taser on video: Police brutality video clips: tasers used on protestors. A woman is on the ground, restrained by police officers, when a bald police officer arrived and fired a taser into her thigh.

Americans Believe Iraq Conflict Was Wrong.

It seems that Vice President Cheney's office was reactive immediately in response to Katrina, but only to order power restored to an oil pipeline! People dying, what's the big deal? Power crews diverted: Restoring pipeline came first.

According to this story, the Red Cross is under government supervision and is not an autonomous organization: Investigation finds Red Cross agreed to withhold Orleans aid, operates in tandem with Homeland Security.

Stars and Stripes Letter: Katrina another Bush failure.

Troops in Iraq and veterans were abandoned by a war-profiteering government, as New Orleans residents were. This presidency is deadly, knows it, and doesn’t care.

Two West Virginia Republican mayors denounce the Iraq war: Mistake: Iraq war tragic. In Anthony Shadid's extraordinary new book about the Iraq war, the Iraqis themselves finally speak. Their stories provide the most eloquent indictment yet of America's disastrous Middle East adventure.

Salon review of Anthony Shadid's Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War: What went wrong.

Katrina spills into Senate's Iraq war debate.

Senate opponents of the Iraq war on Tuesday called Hurricane Katrina a wake-up call to withdraw troops and focus on domestic needs, as lawmakers of both parties acknowledged the relief effort will make it tougher for President George W. Bush to maintain support for the war. "The degree of difficulty has been exponentially increased by Katrina," said Joseph Biden of Delaware, top Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrat.

Storm Warning: How the flood compromises U.S. foreign policy.

The images seen around the world communicated a lack of competence and considerable chaos and suffering. The dominant overseas reaction has been sympathy mixed with shock and horror at what was seen by many as evidence of racism and a reminder of the extreme poverty in which many Americans live.... The world's only remaining superpower appeared to be anything but. In an era of 24-hour satellite television and the Internet, public diplomacy is about who Americans are and what they do, not just what they say. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens here does not stay here....
It will be more difficult to make the case for free markets and more open societies if the results of such reforms come to be associated with the disorder seen in New Orleans....
urricane Katrina has delivered a painful but important warning. In ways similar to the 9/11 attacks four years ago, it demonstrates that U.S. power, however great, is not to be confused with invulnerability. In addition, U.S. power, however great, is still limited. And U.S. power, however great, cannot be taken for granted. In the end, American power is a reflection of the strength of the American economy and the cohesion of American society. Any country must balance what it allocates for guns and what for butter; the United States is no exception. Although we are wealthy enough to fund both, we are not wealthy enough to fund both to the extent we are now doing and to keep taxes as low as they are. Something will have to give.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: End of the Bush Era.

Robert Scheer: Bush Is Fooling Nobody Now.

There's never a terrorist around when you need one. Even a couple of suspicious-looking foreigners playing soccer near the Superdome as Katrina began to make landfall might have done the trick to get this easily distracted President focused. The war on terror is, after all, George W. Bush's obsession, obliterating any other consideration of the nation's well-being....
Unfortunately, what the Bush White House is good at when it comes to national security is providing flash over substance, as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana found out the hard way. After riding in a helicopter with the President and seeing machinery apparently working on the breached 17th Street levee, she was shocked the next day to find the work mysteriously stopped. "Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment," said the senator in a press release.

From Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute: A Serious President?

Arianna Huffington: GOP treats US like they treated Iraq. Heaven help us: The GOP Finds the Silver Lining in Death and Destruction.

Norman Solomon: Beyond the "Vietnam Syndrome".

Eric S. Margolis: Iraq, Katrina. Enough is Enough.

Editorial, Miami Herald. From the title, guess which disaster they're referring to: Turning a disaster into a boondoggle. See also: Watch Who's Cleaning Up.

Iran's strength is becoming bigger problem for US.

Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell: A War Over Meaning.

Iraq War Affected Katrina Response, Say Americans.

Chicago City Council: Panel OKs call for Iraq pullout.

Bush Hits Career Low in Approval.

As striking as Bush's rating — his disapproval is higher than the worst for either of his last two two-term predecessors — is the intensity of sentiment against him: Forty-five percent of Americans "strongly" criticize Bush's performance in office, an unusually deep well of disapproval. Far fewer, 27 percent, strongly approve.

In the "Must Steal" state: Anti-war sentiment swells in Florida, with many wanting troops home within year.

Forty-six percent of the survey of 600 said the war was not justified, 43 percent said it was justified and 11 percent were not sure. A majority, 54 percent, said the U.S. role in Iraq should continue, but within limits. Only 8 percent said troops should remain until "whenever the job is done." Twenty-four percent said the withdrawal should come within six months, 25 percent said within one year and 23 percent said within two years. The rest were unsure....
Only 26 percent of Democrats thought the war was justified, while 72 percent said it was not. Among Republicans, the results were nearly reversed, with 63 percent calling it justified and 13 percent saying it was not. Among independent voters, 40 percent called it justified while 52 percent said it was not. A smaller but significant gender gap also showed up the poll. Most women, 51 percent, called the war unjustified. A plurality of men, 47 percent, said it was justified.

Bush really is stupid and mean, the corporate press finally tells us. He can't even understand the speeches he's given to read. Now They Tell Us. Unfortunately, he thinks he's a great leader, with a mission.

Judging from the blistering analyses in Time, Newsweek, and elsewhere these past few days, it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private. He yells at those who dare give him bad news and is therefore not surprisingly surrounded by an echo chamber of terrified sycophants. He is slow to comprehend concepts that don't emerge from his gut. He is uncomprehending of the speeches that he is given to read. And oh yes, one of his most significant legacies -- the immense post-Sept. 11 reorganization of the federal government which created the Homeland Security Department -- has failed a big test....
"Bush's bubble has grown more hermetic in the second term, they say, with fewer people willing or able to bring him bad news -- or tell him when he's wrong. Bush has never been adroit about this. A youngish aide who is a Bush favorite described the perils of correcting the boss. 'The first time I told him he was wrong, he started yelling at me,' the aide recalled about a session during the first term. 'Then I showed him where he was wrong, and he said, "All right. I understand. Good job." He patted me on the shoulder. I went and had dry heaves in the bathroom.' . . .

Bush's trip to New Orleans, in pictures: Fishing. The Guitar.

Democrats real stumbling block to change: Iraq, not Katrina, may be an Achilles heel for Bush.

La la land: President Bush Meets the Press in New Orleans, Admits 'Sense of Relaxation' After Hurricane Hit . He couldn't think of a single thing that went wrong in the recovery effort. As for that 'Sense of Relaxation' see: Good, crisp decisions [Scroll down!].

Appearing in hurricane-scarred New Orleans today... the president could not identify any shortcomings in the relief effort, denied any racism in responding to the storm, and said there were plenty of troops to fight the war in Iraq and maintain security and relief here at home. He also said that after the hurricane struck, and he believed New Orleans was not ravaged, "there was a sense of relaxation."

Michael Brown leaves and Bush send new idiot to head FEMA: Bush puts "duct tape" idiot in charge of FEMA.

New Orleans today. A body lies on the street and police and Army refuse to remove it and have no idea who or when anyone else will: New Orleans Activist Points to Neglected Corpse as U.S. Military Passes Off Blame.

Debate between ex-CIA agent and neocon executive director of the Project for the New American Century: Michael Scheuer: Has the Iraq war made us safer? No: Osama bin Laden is still out there. Gary Schmitt: Has the Iraq war made us safer? Yes: Saddam Hussein was a ticking time bomb.

In the heartland, 30% drop in war support: Support for Bush reaches low among central Ohioans.

Cindy Sheehan: Camp Casey to DC Update.

In Pittsburgh: Hundreds join Sheehan in rally against Iraq war.

"Every time Bush talks he should be removed from office," Sheehan screamed into the microphone. "None of the chicken hawks have served our country the way our children have," she continued.

Military Reporters on Covering Iraq War Dead.

Bush support eroding as Christians condemn Iraq involvement.

A poll last July by the Pew Forum showed 56 percent o f white mainline Protestants and 54 percent o f white Catholics supported military involvement. Even among evangelicals, who helped Bush win re-election, support had fallen by 11 percentage points. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, which did not publicly endorse the war but has been a Bush backer, seemed surprised Friday when he was told 68 percent of evangelicals still thought invading Iraq was the right thing to do....
"Evangelicals want to support this president and want to believe this war, in the long run, is going to make a big difference on behalf of democracy and freedom of religion [are they completely delusional?] and civil rights in the whole region," said Cizik.

Libertarian Party: Iraq Exit strategy. [At least one party has an exit strategy.]

Guardian: The war of unintended consequences.

Faced with a ruthless insurgency, American public opinion is faltering as the gulf on the ground between reality and objectives widens. Post-Katrina, the question is not whether the US will begin to withdraw - but when, how and, above all, with what damage.

Justin Raimondo: Katrina, Iraq, and the End of 'National Greatness': Americans aren't virtuous enough to embrace the joys of self-immolation – and that's the good news.

It's sickening, really, to contemplate the supreme arrogance of the neocons, as they berate the American people for not being virtuous enough to turn themselves into government-directed automatons....
Americans are an ornery, cantankerous, individualist lot, and always have been. What Kaplan and his ilk describe as the "degradation" of American life – the desire, and, yes, the determination to be happy, and find individual self-fulfillment, and to hell with the myth of collective "goals" and "national purpose" – is, in reality, their greatest virtue. This nation was founded in a libertarian revolution, which was also an anti-imperialist struggle against a colonial master that thought it was the center of the universe: the Sons of Liberty, however, soon disabused King George and his "loyalists" of that notion. If intellectuals in search of "national purpose" and hubristic visions of "National Greatness" want to enroll in a Foreign Legion in which they can act out their delusions of grandeur and secondhand heroism, then let them do so without involving the rest of us. And good riddance to them!

Fascism walk: Let's Iraq and roll. In a surreal twist on the political demonstration, the Pentagon put on a show to mark 9/11 and honor U.S. troops serving in the war. Freedom was banned at Freedom March: NY Times coverage of the not-so-much-freedom march.

[Let's Iraq:] Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in the crowd. I asked him who was paying for the whole thing. "I think it is the sponsors on the back of this T-shirt," he said, referring to the Freedom Walk shirts. The back of the shirts listed Clint Black (presumably not a sponsor), McDonalds, the Pentagon Channel, Stars and Stripes, Lockheed Martin, The Washington Times, Subway Restaurants, America Online, local radio stations, and others. [Please boycott!]
[NY Times coverage:] One man who registered for the walk was detained by a Pentagon police officer after he slipped a black hood over his head and produced a sign that read, "Freedom?" The man was removed from the Pentagon registration area, handcuffed and taken away in a police car.

Richard Halloran: Again, a war that affects few Americans.

In particular, poll after poll have shown that Americans are not mentally and emotionally engaged in the war on terror but are going about their lives almost as if it didn't exist. The president took a five-week vacation, Congress dispersed for the summer; business and labor and academia have carried on without breaking stride.

Mick: Jagger blasts Blair over Iraq.

Bush jokes about WMD: Bush is Mad.

Red Cross providing aid to Bush: Fox touts misleading Red Cross account to blame Blanco.

The beginning of the end: Bush Supporters Question Iraq War Tactics.

Planning for withdrawal: Iraq: Planning For Pullout.

Sorry you lost your home. Now get back to killing: Mississippi guardsmen in Iraq refused leave time.

Safety last: Terrorism Could Hurl D.C. Area Into Turmoil: Despite Efforts Since 9/11, Response Plans Incomplete.

"We've got to take all the plans that relied on the federal government and throw them out and start over again," Duncan said.

But will they stop it? More Americans Decry Bush’s Handling of Iraq. 58% to 34% disapprove of his handling of the war.

Mark Danner: Taking Stock of the Forever War.

In this new world, where what is necessary to go on the attack is not armies or training or even technology but desire and political will, we have ensured, by the way we have fought this forever war, that it is precisely these qualities our enemies have in large and growing supply.

CIA asset Allawi says Iraq is going down the tubes: Former Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi Talks with Asharq Al-Awsat.

We find today an absence of even the institutions we had built during our government's short period in office and by this; I mean the judicial, security, police, intelligence, and army institutions....
Everything is regressing, both resources and performance. This is further rupturing the social fabric. What makes the situations more dangerous is the start of this talk of Sunnis and Shiites at the official and popular levels. The issue of sectarian quotas was prominent during the discussion of the constitution. This does not serve the interest of Iraq or Iraqis and does not serve the country. Another danger is the expanding presence of the armed militias and their control. This is a double danger to national unity in Iraq. This situation is likely to deteriorate further. It will be lethal for Iraq and a danger to the entire region even if it does not get worse.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi in Turkey: Iraq's Microwave Democracy.

A microwave is an oven where after you set the timer for one minute, it cooks food at accelerated speeds, but destroys the taste of a meal....
During one trip to Iraq, I attended a seminar in "Governance and Transparency Seminar" given by an American consulting firm. When the American began to lecture an audience on how to operate in a transparent manner, an Iraqi in the audience screamed back, "How dare you lecture us on transparency when the Coalition Provisional Authority and companies like Halliburton and Bechtel operate in a corrupt and secret way." His statement was met by applause by the Iraqis. It was after this lecture, that I realized that many Iraqis would seem suspicious of Americans teaching the Iraqis about democracy, and that this process has to come from local initiatives.

Dr. Hasan-Askari Rizvi in Pakistan: Nine-eleven and the American predicament.

The US should focus economic and technical assistance on sectors that directly contribute to improving the quality of life of the people. While building a state’s capacity to cope with terrorist groups, the US has to ensure that the reinforced state institutions are not used to repress the ruler’s political adversaries

American Airlines pilot Kurt S. Wolz: We're no safer today than on 9-11.

All I can say is that I am tired of being lied to by an administration that has zero credibility. I am hoping that in 2006 Democrats win back control of Congress and open their first session with impeachment proceedings of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, because the Republicans refuse to do so.

Must Read! EPA Chief Investigator Hugh Kaufman, who blew the whistle on coverup of the poor air quality after 9-11 now says the EPA is covering up the toxicity in New Orleans water: Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade'. See: Investigator: EPA not properly testing WTC air from 2-24-2002 and White House Pressured EPA Not To Warn Public About Health Effects of 9/11.]

In an exclusive interview, Hugh Kaufman, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health. The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analysed. "Inept political hacks" running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income migrant workers by getting them to do the work....
Few people are better qualified to judge the extent of the problem. Mr Kaufman, who has been with the EPA since it was founded 35 years ago, helped to set up its hazardous waste programme. After serving as chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman, he is now senior policy analyst in its Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response. He said the clean-up needed to be "the most massive public works exercise ever done", adding: "It will take 10 years to get everything up and running and safe."

Ira Chernus: September 11, Katrina, and the Cold War Legacy.

Now terrorist attacks and natural disasters have replaced the Bomb and the “red tide.” But the principles of life in a homeland INsecurity state remain pretty much the same. The cold war era taught us how to interpret 9/11, Katrina, and any other disaster that might hit an American city. It’s still all about containment, which means a life built on a foundation of permanent fear.

Naomi Klein: Let the People Rebuild New Orleans.

Scoundrel Time! Disaster? There's money to be made! The same crooks who made millions while thousands died in Iraq are at it again: Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts: FEMA taps Halliburton subsidiary, Shaw Group, Bechtel for cleanup

Barry Schwartz: The Sunk-Cost Fallacy.

In recent speeches, President Bush has offered several reasons for staying the course in Iraq. One of them is the almost 2,000 Americans who have already died in the war. "We owe them something," the president said on Aug. 22. "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for." Psychologists, decision scientists, and economists have a name for this type of argument: the "sunk-cost fallacy."

Today's Katrina Roundup. Ellen Goodman: Disaster's disquieting reality. Louisville Courier-Journal: A serious inquiry. Mark Jurkowitz: Katrina Rips Bush A New One. Robert Parry: After Katrina, America's Political Crisis. And Sheryl McCarthy: Katrina highlights Bush's incompetence.

[A serious inquiry:] Ever the jokester, President Bush has again brought levity to tragedy by asserting with a straight face that he will personally "lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong" in the abysmal federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
Whooee, that's a good one -- even better than his rib-tickling reminiscences of his carousing days with which he regaled desperate evacuees at the New Orleans airport, or his praise of the terrific job being done by the federal emergency management director.
[America's Political Crisis:] The twin disasters of Katrina and Iraq may have sounded loud warnings about the risk of a nation putting ideology and cronyism over common sense and responsible government. But the longer-term catastrophe may be the transformation of the U.S. political system into one that favors authoritarianism over democratic values. Even as Americans grow more aware of the danger, it is calamity that may already be too far advanced to head off.

Naomi Klein: Let the People Rebuild New Orleans.

Not surprisingly, several are about Iraq: Project Censored presents the 10 stories the mainstream media ignored over the past year.

Fred Kaplan: How Do We Win in Iraq? The real question is how we keep a pullout from looking like a surrender.

The much-discussed piece by Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr.: How to Win in Iraq. And a devastating critique by William R. Polk: Another Winning Formula for Iraq.

Rep. Conyers and: Holding Bush accountable .

An Interview With Howard Zinn by Tom Engelhardt: The Outer Limits of Empire.

Dawood Al Shirian: Lebanon and Iraq… What is the Difference?

Anatol Lieven: If you can't lick 'em, try diplomacy.

With very little prospect of suppressing the Sunni Arab insurgency or of establishing a consensual political order in Iraq that could survive without American forces, it is time to start thinking about how to minimize the bad consequences of U.S. withdrawal. Above all, this means making regional diplomacy.

John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer who resigned over the war in Iraq: Bush's Story Isn't History.

Bush's familiarity with history hasn't translated into his understanding of it.

According to this report, FEMA establishes concentration camps for survivors, the undesirables. They can't leave for 5 months!!! I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp.

It could cause a riot. You don't understand the type of people that are about to come here.

Knight Ridder: Katrina underscores Bush's isolated style.

Bush himself has admitted in the past that he does not reach far for information. "I glance at the headlines," Bush told Fox News in September 2003, but "I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who ... probably read the news themselves ... And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world...."
While Bush likes to be surrounded by friendly faces, he avoids frowning ones. Since Katrina hit, Bush visited the Gulf Coast twice, but both times avoided angry evacuees - ostensibly so he wouldn't interfere with relief operations. Some veteran Bush-watchers are skeptical of that White House explanation. "They didn't want anything to be on TV showing a bunch of angry people hollering at the president," said George Edwards, a presidential scholar at Texas A&M University. "It would not have been a favorable scene unless he could handle it well, which he can't. Clinton could. He would be down there feeling their pain. But Bush can't."

Michael T. Klare: Energy Policy: Emphasize Conservation, Alternative Fuels.

Gordon Adams, Director of security policy studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, was senior White House budget official for national security in the Clinton administration: After Katrina Fiasco, Time for Bush to Go.

It is time to hold them accountable - this ugly, troglodyte crowd of Capital Beltway insiders, rich lawyers, ideologues, incompetents and their strap-hangers should be tarred, feathered and ridden gracefully and mindfully out of Washington and returned to their caves, clubs in hand.

Iraq 100, Louisiana 8:

In April 2004, some of the best minds who were supposed to be studying and improving Lousiana's damaged wetlands instead found themselves in the Persian Gulf -- restoring the Iraqi marshes....
In 2004 -- at a time when George W. Bush was running for re-election and presumably courting votes in Louisiana, a potential swing state -- the White House proposed spending a whopping 12 1/3 times as much taxpayer money restoring wetlands in southern Iraq as he planned to spend on the same task in the Mississippi Delta.

Washington Post: Storm's Devastation Fans Antiwar Flame.

Boston Phoenix: America’s Nero: Bush’s Impeachable Offense.

Polly Toynbee: The chasm between us.

What the great Louisiana catastrophe has revealed is a country that is not a country at all, but atomised, segmented individuals living parallel lives as far apart as possible, with nothing to unite them beyond the idea of a flag. The 40 million with no health insurance show the social dysfunction corroding US capacity. For the poor at the bottom of the New Orleans mud heap, there never was even the American dream to cling to. They always lived in another country.

Bonnie Erbe: Outrage reveals itself at last.

Colleen Redman, a writer and poet living in Floyd VA: The very American art of protest.

In the spirit of "know the enemy", a right-wing rant against Cindy Sheehan: Cindy Sheehan And Co.: Nothing To Say But `I Hate You` .

'Peace' signs provoke thought.

Haroon Siddiqui: Louisiana, Iraq and Egypt expose inept Bush.

Michael Scheuer decries comparisons of writing the Iraqi constitution to the US constitutions: For Iraq – Hang the History Teachers.

While our all-seeing neoconservatives, liberal internationalists, and realists argue about democratizing the Muslim world – their argument is not if we should, only how – the real authors of our Muslim-world disaster remain hidden. These wretches are America’s history teachers. They have failed so utterly that no leader in either party appears to understand U.S. history or the basically nontransferable nature of America’s experience. So ineffective have the teachers been that Americans – leaders and led – expect to replicate abroad the republic under which they live but about which they know almost nothing.

Republican quash Congressional inquiry into Plame outing: Plame Update: Hearing Postponed.

Meanwhile, Republicans launch inquiry into the mass murder perpetrated by the government in New Orleans, in order to quash calls for an independent inquiry. Maybe Trent Lott can investigate how well Bush is rebuilding his house: Bush Requests $51.8 Billion More for Relief: GOP Leaders Launch Inquiry on Katrina Preparation and Response.

he joint inquiry, launched by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) a day after the White House announced its own investigation, will wield subpoena power and is billed as a bipartisan enterprise, although Republicans will dominate the committee....
"An investigation of the Republican administration by a Republican-controlled Congress is like having a pitcher call his own balls and strikes," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Pakistan Daily Times: Katrina renders US superpower impotent.

The failure of the United States to deal with the consequences of Hurricane Katrina has highlighted the weakness of the American superpower,” wrote Egypt’s government newspaper Al-Akhbar. “(US President George W.) Bush is seen as a bad omen by the people of the United States,” added editorial writer Galal Doweidar.
A commentator on state television in US arch-foe Iran said the response to Katrina showed the United States was a superpower “only on paper” and was “blind to the widening gulf” affecting the black population and the poor. “Just as Chernobyl marked the end of the Soviet Union, which did not know how to help the victims, Katrina could have the same consequences for the United States,” he said....
“Just yesterday, America attacked, killed and starved whomever it liked. Today, it is begging for oil and food. America has been hit by a divine strike. The curses of the oppressed have been fulfilled.”

Georgie Anne Geyer: Short-Term Thinking Spells Disaster in Iraq -- and New Orleans.

Rami Khouri, editor at large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper: Drafting Iraq's Future.

The latest example of all that is wrong with Washington's approach is the way the American president managed the Iraqi constitutional process, using the same techniques with which he managed the last Republican Party convention. He had his man on the convention floor (the U.S. ambassador), his spin doctors worked overtime to give the global media good news, his political representatives lobbied and twisted arms behind the scenes for months to get the outcome he wanted, and at the critical moment he did what every successful domestic politician does: He worked the phones, calling the political heavyweights in Iraq to seal the deal.
The consequence is a draft constitution that reflects domestic American political timetables as much as it mirrors any Iraqi national consensus.

Congressman Mark: Udall calls for 2006 exit from Iraq.

[T]he Boulder Democrat said he looks to Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, for leadership on the issue.

Joseph Gallaway: Katrina steals headlines, but war grinds on in Iraq.

British Conservative attacks war: Ken hits the spot on war in Iraq.

Mr Clarke was right to call the war “a disastrous decision”. It is remarkable that this needs to be said at all. Iraq has been this country’s biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez, has made Britain and the world a more dangerous place, and yet has hardly been criticised at all by the Conservative Party.

Michael Winship, Writers Guild of America Award winner and former writer with Bill Moyers: Baghdad on the Bayou and the People Left Behind.

And, of course, instead of Vietnam, we have Iraq. Okay, Iraq is different from Vietnam. As Daniel Ellsberg of the aforementioned Pentagon Papers recently noted, Iraq has more of a dry heat.
But instead of Watergate, George W. Bush got water -- lots of it.

Roger Simon: For Bush, likability is not enough.

Bush, a man of considerable personal charm, has been underestimated before, and he wants to leave a positive legacy. So all he has to do in the next couple of years is rebuild the Gulf Coast, win the war in Iraq, and save Social Security. Otherwise, he might give likability a bad name.

The Sacramento Bee Editorial: Shhh! President at work!.

eeport Journal Standard:: Crossing Halliburton and Bush's FEMA.

After all, when it comes to investigations into the workings of the secret-obsessed Bush administration, things always seem to come out the same: Some low-level bureaucrat gets fired or reprimanded for pointing out the flaws, while the buck - using the words of another president - seems to consistently stop anywhere but the Oval Office.
Consider the plight of Bunnatine Greenhouse, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lead official for government contracts, whose demotion last week to a position with no influence was obscured by news of Hurricane Katrina. What did the otherwise highly respected civil servant do to earn such harsh discipline from the government she, by all accounts, served admirably throughout her career? She issued pointed criticism about the awarding of $20 billion in no-bid contracts to Halliburton, the Texas-based oil services company headed by Vice President Dick Cheney prior to his being named to the Bush ticket. Cheney, according to some reports, may still own more than 400,000 shares of Halliburton stock. And Halliburton and its subsidiaries now own more than half of Iraq reconstruction projects....
"Brownie you're doing a heck of a job," Bush was quoted as telling the embattled bureaucrat during a Friday tour of the Louisiana disaster zone. Sounds like the Bush administration "investigation" is nearly complete.

Memphis Flyer: Strike Two.

Since his previous record included a history of consistent failure, both personal and professional, and a rise to political prominence based almost entirely upon his father's name and powerful political connections, we were concerned that the younger Bush lacked the leadership skills necessary to perform well in the nation's highest office.

Cindy Richards: America takes a bite of humble pie.

David Ignatius: A CEO's Weaknesses.

This White House doesn't move effectively to fix broken bureaucracies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Security; it doesn't use interagency meetings to force clear decisions and then implement them, as has been clear in continuing policy confusion on Iraq, North Korea and Iran; and it doesn't mobilize the government well to deal with crisis warnings, as the Sept. 11 commission reported.

Washington Post Editorial: Free Speech for Turkey.

Barbara Bush: It's Good Enough for the Poor.

Even when a hurricane hits, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Michelle J. d’Entremont , 2LT, US Army Reserves Engineer Corps: An Irate Soldier’s Open Letter Regarding George W. Bush .

These are American citizens - your highest priority... but you are incapable of understanding their suffering because you’ve been so sheltered all your life, you can’t even comprehend the sensations of true hunger, thirst, or desperation. You’ve never had to worry about your next meal, or of having a roof over your head. And when you left New Orleans, after hugging a few people while surrounded by cameras, and you flew back to Washington, DC in the comfort of your helicopter, WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER? I’ll bet it was delicious, wasn’t it?

Sahin Alpay looks toward an independent Kurd region in Iraq: The Common Destiny of Turks and Kurds.

Under current circumstances, Turkey should prepare not only its government and military but also its public for the eventual establishment of at best a federated or, otherwise, an independent Kurdish state in Iraq. From Turkey’s point of view, what is important is not whether the Iraqi Kurds gain autonomy or independence, but that they have amicable relations with Turkey.

Eric Margolis: An Ill Wind that Exposed America's Shame.

The primary line of defense for New Orleans and the neighboring Gulf regions of Mississippi and Alabama was their National Guard units that should have been ready to evacuate residents and assure post-storm order. But almost half of the National Guard of these states were in Iraq or Afghanistan, including their main units with organic transport and equipment. The personnel left behind were mostly specialized troops not configured to operate as field units; most were good only for being replacements sent to standing units. The White House is dissembling when it says there were adequate National Guard units available. There were not.
Regular Army units based at Fort Polk, Louisiana that could have intervened to swiftly restore order in New Orleans, were held on base because they were on alert for deployment to Afghanistan!

The Business Online: Ancient Rome on the Potomac.

We have reached a pivotal moment in American history to which people might well look back and say this was the start of the decline of the American Empire. An inert government unable to take strategic decisions, focused only on the tactical; a Democratic opposition incapable of providing a realistic alternative; a political process that becomes more corrupt by the day, with Congress able to find billions to satisfy powerful energy and agricultural interests but nothing extra for those who want to build better flood barriers; a national security apparatus that is unable to protect its citizens from a rapidly evolving threat; an emergency response system that allows a natural disaster to turn into a human tragedy of biblical proportions. If, God forbid, al-Qaeda were to mount another major terrorist attack in the dark days ahead it is unclear that America, the richest, most powerful country in the world, could cope. The tragedy is that it need not be like this: America has the power, wealth, energy, resilience and brains to deal with whatever is thrown at it. For all who believe in democracy and progress it remains the best hope of the world. But under George Bush, Washington is beginning to look and sound like Ancient Rome on the Potomac.

Will he run? Can he win? Call for Timetable Sets Feingold Apart.

Another switch: McNulty calls for withdrawal from Iraq: Congressman changes stance on war.

From conservative Andrew C. McCarthy in the National Review: A Not So Sensible Iraqi Constitution.

The Scotsman on the death of three British soldiers yesterday: Sadly, these deaths are only a fraction of the daily death toll.

There has never been a genuine exit strategy from this morass and the worse the violence the less likely one becomes. George Bush and Tony Blair continue to deny that the country is in a state of civil war and while it was always going to take more than two years to create a democratic state after years of dictatorship, they are further from that now than when the first missiles rained down on Baghdad. The draft constitution will do nothing solve the problem, with the strong probability that Sunni Arabs will reject it.

Anti-War Events Building to September 24th.

Robert Dreyfuss: The Tipping Point On Iraq.

Gallup: Americans to Bush -- Withdraw Troops from Iraq .

Lewis Simons: Like Vietnam, Iraq a no-win situation.

My hawkishness is long gone. I went to Iraq this May on an assignment for National Geographic magazine, already convinced that this war was a mistake. I found myself cloistered in a nightmare world, behind layers of 12-foot concrete barriers beyond which no thinking American strays without armed guards. I returned home a month later, certain that this war, like Vietnam, will never be won.

A report on the nonsectarian Iraqi National Foundation Conference: Democracy and the rule of law: the Iraqi alternative to US occupation.

At last there's something in the Hurricane Katrina disaster to interest the Bush folks. They gave a repair contract to Halliburton! Good by, New Orleans: Halliburton gets Katrina contract, hires former FEMA director. See also the very important Talking Points Memo on the spoils to come and the crook who'll steal them.

Frank Rich: Falluja Floods the Superdome.

Warren P. Strobel: Katrina could complicate Bush's ambitious foreign policy agenda.

Todd Gitlin: Bush at Bay: From Baghdad to Biloxi, the President has never been so assailed by such vitriolic criticism.

Rosa Brooks" American Caesar: Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Guard's in Iraq, but it's needed here.

From Balaji Reddy in India: World seeing American failures in New Orleans, misjudgments in Iraq, strange oil crisis – is America still a superpower?

The world woke up to a very astonishing reality! The world may not have any superpower left! The way America handled the New Orleans tragedy and gulf coast devastation is similar to the way a typical third world country handles similar situations. Some might point out that this was a manifestation of the complex rich versus poor phenomenon. But actually it is way beyond that.

Iraqi-American blogger Fayrouz Hancock Writes of his frustrations: We all failed.

Juan Cole: Christopher Hitchens' last battle: The British hawk gives 10 reasons why Americans should be proud of the Iraq war. He goes 0 for 10.

In Iraq, cycle of terror continues to spiral.

Helen Thomas: Bush's new reasons for Iraq war.

Previous Month Archive: August, 2005
Occupation Resistance Analysis

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