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.

The Occupation

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Occupation Resistance Analysis

Dahr Jamail contrasts the CNN view of the war with the reality he observed: First hand news vs. CNN.

As Robert Fisk points out: The Occupiers, As Ever, Are Damned Either Way - Especially When The Innocent Die. Also by Robert Fisk: UK Charity Seeks Compensation Over "Lost" Cancer Drugs For Iraqi Children.

At least 5 people have been killed and 20 wounded as a demonstration against Kirkuk becoming part of Kurdish Iraq was fired upon: Five die as tensions erupt in Iraqi city.

Two articles provide evidence that the reality of war is starting to sink in to at least some Americans: A Soldier's Return, to a Dark and Moody World and Body Bags Make Reality of War Sink In.

Tikrit may be getting tired of the fight (see next story), but Fallouja hasn't caught the spirit so far: In Sunni Bastion, They Are Ready for a Fight Even with Hussein in custody, anti-American sentiment fuels Iraqi midsection's insurgency.

"People will sell their furniture to sponsor the resistance," Khalifa said....
Fadawi's wife, who was at home at the time of the attack with their children, was terrified. She would be happy, she said, if one of her sons decided to join the moujahedeen. "Because of what I have witnessed, I would tell him to go!" Lamiaa Fadawi said. "At least instead of being killed [by random fire], he would die in the battlefield. That would be better."

In an interesting development well worth watching, the Associated Press reports that Sunni spiritual leaders in Tikrit have decided to urge the population to work with the Americans and stop the armed resistance: Sunni elders urge cooperation with US.

"It's about time we put our differences aside and looked to the future," Mahmoud said. "I told them: `The reality is, [US forces] are here on the ground; the past is dead. Give the Americans a chance to see what they are going to give us....' "
With the US-led occupation trying to install democratic government, the Shi'ite Muslim majority -- long oppressed under Hussein -- is positioning itself to hold sway in Iraq. Sunnis apparently are realizing that they must cooperate with the occupation if they are to have a role in the country's future leadership.

The LA Times reports that the Iraqi Governing Council is asserting itself, actually making decisions that conflict with CPA policy: Iraqi Council Flexes Muscles.

As usual, the administration supports our troops by keeping them in the military way past their discharge date. Army Stops Many Soldiers From Quitting: Orders Extend Enlistments to Curtail Troop Shortages.

Through a series of stop-loss orders, the Army alone has blocked the possible retirements and departures of more than 40,000 soldiers, about 16,000 of them National Guard and reserve members who were eligible to leave the service this year.... By prohibiting soldiers and officers from leaving the service at retirement or the expiration of their contracts, military leaders have breached the Army's manpower limit of 480,000 troops, a ceiling set by Congress.

Robert Fisk describes the human toll of the Karbala bombings: Checkpoints Prove Useless Against Suicide Bombers in Iraq.

In response to the Karbala bombings, the city gets tense. Of course, this is what the resistance fighters want: Karbala Transformed After Suicide Attacks.

Herbert Docena of Asia Times Online provides an excellent analysis of why the Iraqi occupation is being so spectacularly unsuccessful in getting the country going again. Iraq reconstruction's bottom-line.

Awaiting urgent rehabilitation, Iraq's French, Russian, German and Japanese-made power infrastructure is slowly disintegrating.... To finally end Iraq's crippling power shortage and to ensure that the turbines are not completely degraded, Bechtel should either quickly manufacture the required spare parts itself, a very long and very costly process, buy the spare parts from the Russian company directly, or hire the Russian firm as a sub-contractor....
So there's money; it's just not going around. And here perhaps lies the solution to the mystery of how the world's superpower and the world's biggest corporations can't even begin to put Iraq together again after almost nine months: The reconstruction is less about reconstruction than about making the most money possible....
"The profit motive is what brings companies to dangerous locations. But that is what capitalism is all about," Richard Dowling, spokesperson of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that contracted Kellogg, Brown & Root, explained....
The US and its contractors are not even trying, for a simple reason: it's not the point. To assume that they are striving, but are merely failing because of factors beyond their control, is to presuppose that there is an earnest effort to succeed. There isn't. If there were, there should have been a coherent plan and process in which the welfare of the Iraqis - and not of the corporations - actually comes first. Instead, the Iraqis' need for electricity comes after Bechtel's need for billion-dollar projects.... The US did not liberate Iraq in order to let the long disempowered Iraqis rebuild their own country.

Robert Fisk on the revenge killings sweeping Iraq, with no effort made to stop them: Hooded Men Executing Saddam Officials.

The Washington Post reports that the US has postponed many of its radical reorganization plans for Iraq, such as economic privatization, until after the official "occupation" ends. Let the Iraqi figure-heads take the heat for massive layoffs. Other goals, such as disbanding the private militias will simply be abandoned: Attacks Force Retreat From Wide-Ranging Plans for Iraq .

Dahr Jamailreports on the heavy-handed US tactics making life hell for Sunni residents of the Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Adamiyah: US Military using Brutality, Fear, Intimidation in Al-Adamiyah.

Laura Rosen in the Nation details the active campaign by the US military of intimidation against reporters in Iraq: Journalists Take Flak in Iraq.

"Our journalists in Iraq have been shoved to the ground, pushed out of the way, told to leave the scene of explosions; we've had camera disks and videotapes confiscated, reporters detained," says Sandy Johnson, Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press.

Riverbend in the December 26 entry her blog gives a little taste of what Christmas was, and is, like in Baghdad: .

We live in a neighborhood with a number of Christian families and, under normal circumstances, the area would be quite festive this time of year- little plastic Santas on green lawns, an occasional plastic wreath on a door and some colored, blinking lights on trees.
Our particular friends (Abu Josef's family) specialized in the lights.... Passing by their house, the scene of the green olive trees with branches tangled in little red lights always brought a smile… you couldn't help but feel the 'Christmas spirit'- Christians and Muslims alike.
This year the trees weren't decorated because, as their father put it, "We don't want to attract too much attention… and it wouldn't be right with the electricity shortage." The tree inside of their house *was* decorated, however, and it was almost sagging with ornaments. The traditional tree ornaments were hanging, but the side of the tree was covered with not-so-traditional Pokemon toys. Their 8-year-old is an avid collector of those little Pokemon finger puppets and the bottom section of the tree was drooping with the weight of the little plastic figures which took Iraq by storm a couple of years ago.
Kids in Iraq also believe in Santa Claus, but people here call him 'Baba Noel' which means, "Father Noel".... He doesn't drop into Iraqi homes through the chimney, though, because very few Iraqi homes actually have chimneys. He also doesn't drop in unexpectedly in the middle of the night because that's just rude. He acts as more of an inspiration to parents when they are out buying Christmas gifts for the kids; a holiday muse, if you will....
This year, the Christmas service was early and many people didn't go because they either didn't have gasoline, or just didn't feel safe driving around Baghdad in the evening. Many of them also couldn't join their families because of the security situation.

Robert Fisk (yes, I try to post all of his Iraq dispatches) tells the story of two deaths, one Shia, one Sunni: From joy to despair: Iraqis pay for Saddam's capture.

Robert Fisk on the current US insanity in Iraq: Iraq through the American looking glass.

So let's get this right. Insurgents are civilians. Truck bombs and tanks that crush civilians are traffic accidents. And the "liberated" civilians who live in villages surrounded by razor wire should endure "a heavy dose of fear and violence" to keep them on the straight and narrow. Somewhere along the way, they will probably be told about democracy as well.

Robert Fisk reports the violence continued on Christmas day: Deaths mount on both sides on Christmas Day in Iraq. And Reuters reports that Christmas and the day after led to Four U.S. Soldiers Killed in Spate of Iraq Attacks.

James Baker's firm and clients stand to gain from his trip to renegotiate Iraq's debt. After all, his firm represents both Halliburton and the Carlyle Group (with connections and investments to both Bush Sr. and the Bin Laden family): Is James Baker Too Near Pie to Ask Nations to Forgive Slices?.

The Center for American Progress reports on a December 15 DOD report that indicates things aren't going so well for Iraqi reconstruction: Troubling Report from the Pentagon. The report: Draft Working Papers: Iraq Status (pdf). An example: while plans called for a more than 50% increase in electric production from November to December, it actually fell by 4% in that time, and 13% from October.

Four members of the Baghdad City Council visiting Colorado complain of destruction and killings by US troops, and of the indifference of the American CPA: Wartime carnage upsets Baghdad brass.

Temple: When you talk to U.S. authorities what do they say?
Al-Dhari: I work every day and night reporting these things and translating them into English and submitting them to the authority. But I hear almost nothing from them....
What there is now is a crisis. As I drive through the streets of cities in Iraq, I see women begging in the streets with their children for food....
Al-Dhari: We are losing tens of Iraqis to one coalition soldier....
The commander of U.S. forces in my district came into my office several weeks ago shouting because he had lost several soldiers, though some Iraqi citizens were also killed. And he shouted, "I can't give any more blood for this." And I said, "You can't come into my office and talk to me this way." So I complained to General Dempsey and told him that I wish his commanders were as upset when innocent Iraqis were killed. These were six shoppers; that's all they were doing, shopping, and they were shot down.

Bush admits the troops aren't coming home any time soon: Troop cuts in Iraq may wait, Bush says.

The march toward civil war continues: Civilian Violence in Iraq Up Sharply Since Hussein's Capture. Also, Iraqis Exact Revenge on Baathists: Police Shrug Off Killings of 50 Hussein Loyalists by Unknown Gunmen.

Naomi Klein shows the total hypocrisy of US attempts to have Iraqi debts cancelled. As she shows, the US has systematically blocked all attempts to have debts accrued by murderous regimes cancelled, except in this case where US companies stand to gain: .

The U.S. position has been that wiping out the debts would lead to dangerous precedents (and, of course, would rob Washington of the leverage it needs to push for investor-friendly economic reforms). So why now is Mr. Bush so concerned that "The future of the Iraqi people should not be mortgaged to the enormous burden of debt?" Because it is taking money away from "reconstruction," money that could be going to Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon and Boeing.... If there's one thing last week's diplomatic dustups make clear, it's that the underlying ideology of the Bush White House isn't neo-conservatism, it's old-fashioned greed....
Seen through this lens, the seemingly erratic behavior coming out of Washington makes a lot more sense. Sure, Mr. Wolfowitz's contract-hogging openly flouts the free-market principles of competition and government non-intervention. But like Mr. Baker's jubilee, it does have a direct benefit for the firms closest to the Bush administration. Not only are they buying a debt-free Iraq, but they won't have to compete for the deals with European corporate rivals.
Those looking for ideology in the White House should consider this: For the men who rule our world, rules are for other people. The truly powerful feed ideology to the masses like fast food while they dine on the most rarified delicacy of all: impunity.

Michael Moore publishes: Letters the Troops Have Sent Me... .

[Specialist Mike Prysner of the U.S. Arm:] My time in Iraq has always involved finding things to convince myself that I can be proud of my actions; that I was a part of something just. But no matter what pro-war argument I came up with, I pictured my smirking commander-in-chief, thinking he was fooling a nation…"
[Lance Corporal George Batton of the United States Marine Corps:] You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked to in my company and others believed that the president's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of bullshit and that the real motivation for this war was only about money.
[Specialist in the U.S. Army:] Wow, 130,000 troops on the ground, nearly 500 deaths and over a billion dollars a day, but they caught a guy living in a hole. Am I supposed to be dazzled?
[Jerry Oliver of the U.S. Army:] I have just returned home from "Operation Iraqi Freedom". I spent 5 months in Baghdad, and a total of 3 years in the U.S. Army. I was recently discharged with Honorable valor and returned to the States only to be horrified by what I've seen my country turn into. I'm now 22 years old and have discovered America is such a complicated place to live, and moreover, Americans are almost oblivious to what's been happening to their country. America has become "1984." Homeland security is teaching us to spy on one another and forcing us to become anti-social. Americans are willingly sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security, the same Freedoms I was willing to put my life on the line for.
[And from a mother writing on behalf of her son:] My son said that this is the worst it's been since the "end" of the war. He said the troops have been given new rules of engagement, and that they are to "take out" any persons who aggress on the Americans, even if it results in "collateral" damage. Unfortunately, he did have to kill someone in self defense and was told by his commanding officer ‘Good kill.’ My son replied ‘You just don't get it, do you?’

Attacks on the Americans may have eased, but that doesn't necessarily mean things are getting better, as the Boston Globe reports: Iraqi feuds heightened after capture of Hussein.

The Scottish paper the Sunday Herald is reporting that the Kurdish PUK played a much larger role in Saddam's capture, but that it is being kept quiet do to mutual expediency: Revealed: who really found Saddam?

The rebuilding of Iraq's schools is being touted as a success of the occupation. But the Boston Globe reports that Iraqis say the work was crap. Of course, Bechtel was in charge and made a bundle: US rebuilding leaves detritus.

"For that much money, we can build a new school," said Isra Mohammed, one of four regional planning directors in Baghdad. On her desk sat a stack of complaints about the reconstruction work from schools in the area she oversees.
Two months after the work was finished, students were getting locked into classrooms when new door handles broke. Toilets were overflowing because sewer systems weren't cleaned properly. Children couldn't wash their hands, because handles on new water taps had snapped off. Desks and chalkboards, already in short supply, were in the trash heap after painters had used them as makeshift stepladders. Laborers had carted off working ceiling fans and sturdy doors, and installed cheap replacements, teachers and principals said....
But Iraqi school officials say they saw the problems coming, and they lodged complaints with Bechtel in weekly meetings during the reconstruction, which ran from July until school began in October. Najdat Zaki Abdul-Aziz, chief engineer and director general of education planning at the Ministry of Education, said their warnings weren't heeded. He said Iraqi school officials were sidelined and told that those holding the purse strings would make the decisions.

The Iraqi Governing Council statute establishing the new Iraqi war crimes tribunal was, in large part, taken word-for-word from that establishing the International Criminal Court, which the US vehemently denounces. Justice clearly belongs only to the victors: U.S. Opposes Provisions for Iraq Tribunal.

Robert Fisk discusses the spinning of the conflict in the Iraqi town of Samarra, where schoolboys are shot in the back by US troops who call them insurgents: Phantam Insurgents in Fantasyville.

His 41-year-old brother, Hamed winces as he sees Maouloud cringing in agony --the wounded man tries to wave a hand at me and lapses into unconsciousness--and says 23 bullets hit the house in their Al-Muthanna quarter of the city. Like Issam Hamid, he lay bleeding for several hours before help came. Manal, Issam's mother, tells a terrible story. "The Americans had an Iraqi interpreter and he told us to stay in our home," she says. "But we had no telephone, we couldn't call an ambulance and both my husband and son were bleeding. The interpreter for the Americans just told us we were not allowed to leave the house."
Hamed Hussein stands by his brother's bed in a state of suppressed fury. "You said you would bring us freedom and democracy but what are we supposed to think?" he asks. "My neighbour, the Americans took him in front of his wife and two children and tied his hands behind his back and then, a few hours later, after all this humiliation, they came and said his wife should take all her most expensive things and they put explosives in their house and blew it up. He is a farmer. He is innocent. What have we done to deserve this?" ...
There are dozens of houses in the same street, all their gates blown to pieces, all their interior house doors bashed from their hinges with boot-marks on the paintwork. "We wanted the Americans to help us," he said. "This was Saddam's Sunni area but many of us disliked Saddam. But the Americans are doing this to humiliate us, to take their revenge on the attacks against them by the resistance."

Power for 40% of time they had it before the war. Remarkable progress! But, it may provide an excuse to privatize the system and charge for what used to be free: Power outages generating anger in Iraq.

Here is an excellent account, from the Boston Globe, of how isolated the American rulers of Iraq are from the country they rule: Behind walls in Baghdad, a bit of home: But Green Zone stifling to some.

"It's like I never left America," said Elzain, an artist from Washington, D.C., who works as an interpreter....
Venturing from the protection of the Green Zone is not just a chore, it's a feat. Forms must be filled out explaining the reason for the outing, requesting transportation and a protective detail. Some trips must be rescheduled three or four times....
The cafeteria, run by US contractor KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Inc., has retro silver tables that look like part of a "Happy Days" set. Near the swimming pool in the back is a giant television screen, which usually is showing sports events. On the rare occasions when people are able to break away from work, they come out here, often in shorts and T-shirts. There's a new gym with free weights and yoga classes.

GIs suffering in increasing numbers, while the government tries to downplay casualties: Medical evacuations from Iraq near 11,000.

Yet again, trigger happy Americans kill Iraqi police, this time outside Kirkuk: 3 Iraqi Policemen Mistakenly Killed by US Troops.

The US wants to make sure that they maintain military control when Iraq regains "sovereignty". The new Iraqi government, before any elections, will "invite" the Americans to stay indefinitely. Then Bush can say: "Mission Accomplished!" U.S. Negotiating Over Role of G.I.'s in a Sovereign Iraq. In the mean time: US to add 2,000 extra Iraq troops.

Some Iraqi women are pushing for quotas to ensure women are represented in the new government. The US has refused: Iraqi Women Shut Out of Politics by Tribal Leaders, CPA.

Naomi Klein reports on a conference for foreign companies thinking of investing in Iraqi. They have a problem: No insurance company will insure them. No insurance, no investment. No problem, the US government will insure: Risky Business in Iraq.

American soldiers come with tanks and drag school children from their classroom, beat and arrest them. Such is the post-Saddam Iraq reports Jo Wilding: Arresting Children. See also this account, with pictures of the brave Americans stopping this School child insurrection, by Dahr Jamail: Secondary School under Siege by US Forces.

[Wilding: A teacher:] "I told them you have to educate people about freedom, not punish them, but they brought tanks and helicopters. Yesterday they surrounded the school and came in with weapons everywhere, soldiers everywhere and used tear gas on the students. They fired guns to scare them, above their heads. One student got a broken arm because of the beating. They had some sticks, electric sticks and they hit the students. Some of them were vomiting, some of them were crying and they were very afraid."
[Wilding: A student:] "The soldiers pointed at me and I was grabbed by about 8 of them and dragged out by my clothes and my collar. They threw me on the ground and searched me and cocked their guns on me. We were held in chicken cages, about two metres by a metre and a half with criss cross wire. They were swearing at us a lot. They didn't beat us but they accused us of having relations with Saddam Hussein, asking who organized the demonstration, telling us anyone who is against our American interests will be arrested.
[Wilding: Another student:] "They have turned us all against the American soldiers. We don't care about their tanks, we don't care about their machine guns, we don't care about their prisons any more."
[Jamail:] "Who are the terrorists here now? You have seen this yourself! We are school kids!" All of us in the car are shocked and deeply shaken as we drive back into central Baghdad. Ahmed, our interpreter, is weeping quietly, holding his head in his hands. Thus far, the public relations officer for the First Armored Division has failed to return our phone calls, or emails.

US troops treat an entire city as the enemy. I guess they didn't hear they were liberated. They certainly won't think so tomorrow: U.S. troops raid city in search of guerrillas.

U.S. troops blasted down the gates of homes, raising cries of women and children inside, and smashed in doors of workshops and junkyards in a massive raid Wednesday....
"Locksmiths will make a lot of money these days," said a U.S. soldier, laughing as he sat atop a Bradley fighting vehicle in the city’s industrial zone, where troops used sledgehammers, crowbars, explosives and even the Bradleys themselves to smash down doors of warehouses, workshops and junkyards...
"No one knows the town better than we do, we’re gonna clean this place. They’ve made a mistake to attack U.S. forces. We will dominate Samarra," he said....
lsewhere, a suspect was punched in the head and a soldier said: "You’re dead. You’re dead."

One more family home raided, its residents humiliated, their property destroyed and looted by soldiers:

Tears well in her eyes as she tells me she understands the need for the soldiers to search for resistance fighters. "Let them search. OK. But why burn these things on our roof? Why steal from us? Why destroy our home? We want to know why."

Killings by Americans of demonstrators across much of Iraq leads to fury: Growing Fury and Unrest.

Reports are streaming in of Iraqis being killed in demonstrations in Samarra, Falluja, Tikrit, and around parts of Baghdad. Some of the demonstrations have turned violent, this being the reason for American force -- while most haven't until Americans opened fire first....
The petrol squeeze is worse than ever today. The one Iraqi oil refinery in Baghdad is closed for refining black oil. There are countless Iraqi engineers begging to be allowed to open it and run it. But, this is not allowed by the CPA. The refinery remains closed, until American (or British) companies will open it.

The International Federation of Free Trade Unions is meeting with Iraqi unionists in Jordan today and tomorrow: ICFTU to Hold Talks on Reconstruction and Labour Rights with Iraqi Trade Union Groups. Apparently, they are meeting with the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions but not the Union of Unemployed in Iraq. [See next article.]

The Union of Unemployed in Iraq has put out an English translation of their paper: Voice of Iraq Workers. It seems to be affiliated with the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq. I don't know anything about this group. There are claims they have 120,000 members: HUMAN RIGHTS, AMERICAN STYLE, PART 4: Since the United States have taken over their oil, Iraqis are surviving on charity If anyone has information about them, I'd appreciate hearing about it. Also see the rival: Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions. [Article about them: Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions]. Both groups have been attacked by the US occupation authorities, who are keeping Saddam's (anti)labor laws in place to criminalize any labor organizing. [See this December 12, 2003 article in the Washington Times: Outside View: Baghdad raid bungle or plot?] In my opinion, the development of independent unions is one of the most hopeful signs that there is a possible future other than (neo)colonial rule, an Islamic state, or civil war. Stay tuned.

As Baker travels the world "restructuring' Iraq's debt, something the Americans (as opposed to Iraqis) have no right to do, Jubilee Iraq argues "The Iraqi people don't owe a dime for Saddam's crime". They call for the making of a distinction between odious debt and commercial debt, and the cancellation (not resturcturing) of all odious debt. See the Press Release: Baker’s mission may undermine Iraqi democracy.

Tanks bring democracy to Tikrit: Tanks roll to warn Tikritis off pro-Saddam rallies.

"Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon," Jaburi's voice said, according to an army interpreter. "This is a fair warning." Demonstrators risk a year in jail and, if they work for the state as civil servants or teachers, they will loose their jobs, the message said. All demonstrations are illegal in the U.S.-occupied province. [Emphasis added]

The New York Times reports: Joy Fades as Iraqis Chafe Under a Grim Occupation. It makes it clear that, thrilled as many Iraqis are at Saddam's capture, their pressing current concerns are the appalling conditions under foreign occupation.

The bodies at Mahawil began accumulating in 1991, during the ill-fated mass uprising against Mr. Hussein. This is the largest of the country's more than 260 potential mass graves identified by human rights workers. So one would expect the people of Mahawil to be clamoring for accountability from the imprisoned Mr. Hussein. They are, but they are clamoring even louder for accountability from the American occupiers. "I'm against the Americans," said Alaa Abdul-Nabie, 25, as he drove some visitors along a palm-lined dirt road to one of the mass graves. "I'm a Muslim and Iraq is an Islamic country. The Americans should get out of Iraq and let the Iraqi people build their own country and do what they should do. The Americans don't have a pretext to be here now that Saddam Hussein has been captured."

The US killings continue. 18 died in protests of Saddam's death. The US claims they were firing. Other accounts aren't so clear. Robert Fisk reports: Insurgents or protesters? 18 are killed in clashes with US troops

Iraqi exile Sami Ramadani writes of the the bittersweet quality of hearing about Saddam's capture: Resistance to occupation will grow.

But here it was, at last: Saddam's surrender in ignominy. However, this delightful moment - enjoyed by all the Iraqis I spoke to as the news of his capture was breaking - was soured by the fact that it was Iraq's newly appointed tyrant, Paul Bremer, doing the boasting: "Ladies and gentlemen... we got him!"
Now that Saddam is no longer a bogeyman to scare the people with, trade union and other mass opposition is likely to increase, complementing a nd coalescing with the armed opposition.
One demand is now uniting nearly all Iraqis, from armed resisters to trade unionists to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Elections! And it is the one demand to which the US has refused to agree, because it has accurately assessed the likely result. That is also why it swiftly moved to stop elections of city mayors and why, a few weeks ago, it sacked the elected dean of Baghdad university after his outspoken criticisms of the occupation authorities.

It seems the US worked out the script for proving that Saddam was really captured months ago: A Careful U.S. Plan to Dispel All Doubt on Hussein's Fate.

BBC world affairs correspondent Humphrey Hawksley visits the new Iraq and finds it not so different from the old. Not because of what the Americans are doing, but because of what the ascendant Iraqi forces are like: New powers, old habits in Iraq.

Both Zaid and I had witnessed the face of the new leadership. It was about power, identity cards and threats - not about the healthcare of a sick little girl. In fact, not that much different from the regime which had been deposed.

Latest reporting from Robert Fisk, veteran middle east correspondent. Most of these pieces were written since the capture of Saddam Hussein. First is an audio clip from Democracy Now! Robert Fisk Reports From Near Tikrit After Visiting the Hole Where Hussein Was Found. Then "The Tyrant Is Now A Prisoner". "For Saddam has bequeathed to his country and to its would-be "liberators" something uniquely terrible: continued war. And there was one conclusion upon which every Iraqi I spoke to yesterday agreed.... Indeed, more and more Iraqis were saying before Saddam's capture that the one reason they would not join the resistance to US occupation was the fear that - if the Americans withdrew - Saddam would return to power. Now that fear has been taken away. So the nightmare is over - and the nightmare is about to begin." Fisk also comments: Saddam's Capture Will Not Stop The Relentless Killings From Insurgents. "There are groups aplenty with enthusiasm to attack the Americans but who never had any love for Saddam. One example is the Unification Front for the Liberation of Iraq, which was anti-Saddam but has now called on its supporters to fight the American occupation. In all, The Independent has identified 12 separate guerrilla groups, all loosely in touch with each other through tribal connections, but only one could be identified as comprising Saddam loyalists or Baathists.". And, from before the capture, he comments on the apparent American plans to seize Saddam's prime palace for the American embassy! What better way to make clear who will really run the "sovereign" Iraq: US Eyes Up Saddam's Baghdad Palace As Site For Embassy. I can't think of more informative reading at this historic moment.

Consistent with Robert Fisk's predictions, AFP reports: Saddam's capture may bolster anti-US resistance forces. And Reuters reports: Iraqi cheer fades into ire at U.S. Mohamad Bazzi in Newsday also argues that: Saddam's Capture May Fuel Islamist Insurgency.

[Reuters:] "The Americans promised freedom and prosperity; what's this? Go up to their headquarters, at one of those checkpoints where they point their guns at you, and tell them that you hate them as much as Saddam, and see what they do to you," said Mohammad Saleh, 39, a building contractor. "The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public," he said. "A lot of things -- safety, freedom, prosperity -- that we were supposed to have are gone. They promised many things, and now that they have caught Saddam maybe they kept one."

Saddam Captured! Saddam Hussein captured. Now Iraqis will know that his brutal regime will never return! In pictures: Saddam in custody. In response, Iraqis celebrate Saddam capture and In Baghdad, Celebration and Mockery of a Captured Leader.

"We are celebrating like it's a wedding," said resident Mustapha Sheriff. "We are finally rid of that criminal." "This is the joy of a lifetime," said Ali Al-Bashiri.

What Does the Capture Mean? We will collect analyses of the meaning of the capture for Iraq, for the the occupation and the resistance to it, and for internal US politics. First, world leaders celebrated his capture : Saddam's Capture Celebrated Around World. But Arabs Have Mixed Emotions About Saddam Capture. And Reuters reports Saddam’s capture may not end unrest: Arrest seen more as a coup for Bush administration. The Australian argues, however, that This will make a world of difference.

The Sydney Morning Herald reminds us of the extremely close ties between Saddam Hussein and the west, including Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and George Bush Sr.: West could never kick weapons sales habit.

Meanwhile, the war of the contractors also continues. Halliburton has been serving "dirty food" to US troops. Pentagon warned Halliburton-KBR on "dirty" food service.

The Pentagon repeatedly warned contractor Halliburton-KBR that the food it served to US troops in Iraq was "dirty," as were as the kitchens it was served in, NBC News reported Friday....
The Pentagon reported finding "blood all over the floor," "dirty pans," "dirty grills," "dirty salad bars" and "rotting meats ... and vegetables" in four of the military messes the company operates in Iraq.

Back down, and an admission: Iraq Army Desertions Force Pay Review.

[Another day, another lie bites the dust:] Sanchez, who had previously given the number of detainees under coalition control in Iraq (news - web sites) as about 5,000, conceded that the number is now "almost to 10,000."
"We can be a ferocious army, but we can also be a benevolent army, and we are not going to change," he added. [Sounds like occupiers everywhere.]

Iraqis stage a sit-in, demanding that subversive thing, an election! Iraqi Protesters Oust Appointed Governor: Demonstrators Defy U.S. Occupation With Demand for an Election. Notice how elections "compromise security".

"President George Bush promised us democracy" said Kadhim Abbas, the owner of a carpet factory, who brought three dozen employees -- women in head-to-toe black veils -- to the protest. "How can you have democracy without elections?"....
Leaders of Hilla's largest labor unions have vowed to hold a general strike starting Saturday in support of elections....
The official [with the occupation authority in Hilla] ruled out holding elections. "I'm not going to compromise on security, and we do not respond to mobs," the official said.

Sunni-Shia tension in Baghdad as Mosques are bombed and ransacked: Bonfire of faith as mosques go to war.

Even the Iraq soldiers eating with Bush were preselected. Some got the plastic turkey. Others were turned away, and their not happy about it: A Baghdad Thanksgiving's Lingering Aftertaste. The article also goes over the controversy in Britain about the false information given air traffic controllers about the flight. [See also a Stars and Stripes piece on the controversy: Some troops not happy with historic visit.]

The paper also published a letter to the editor from Sgt. Loren Russell, who wrote of the heroism of his soldiers and then added: "[I]magine their dismay when they walked 15 minutes to the Bob Hope Dining Facility, only to find that they were turned away from their evening meal because they were in the wrong unit. . . .
Russell added that his soldiers "chose to complain amongst themselves and eat MREs, even after the chow hall was reopened for 'usual business' at 9 p.m. As a leader myself, I'd guess that other measures could have been taken to allow for proper security and still let the soldiers have their meal."

May the laughs never cease! Bush warns 'oil overcharge' firm.

US President George W Bush says he expects an oil company once run by his vice-president to return money if it has overcharged for services in Iraq. [Where do they think up these lines?]
The company has received $2bn in work since it was given the contract in March, the Reuters news agency reports. [So it won't have any trouble repaying whatever piddling amount they claim is an overcharge]

Shia religious leader al-Sistani wants the UN to say whether early elections are feasible: Iraqi Shias want UN decision on elections.

"Ayat Allah Sistani maintains his call for elections in Iraq unless a neutral UN committee, appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan, visits Iraq and reaches the conclusion that in the current circumstances it is technically and politically impossible to hold general elections," said interim Governing Council member Muwaffak al-Rubaie.

Firas Al-Atraqchi reports that Iraq is close to civil war: Iraqis Warn Country Close to Civil War. Meanwhile, Iraqi Governing Council members spar over who controls the burgeoning paramilitaries: Rival former exile groups clash over security in Iraq.

The latest dispute between the two men, both members of the Iraqi Governing Council's rotating presidency, erupted after close associates of Mr Chalabi teamed up with Erinys International, a Johannesburg-based security risk consultancy, to train and deploy a 6,500-strong Iraqi force at oil installations.

Will this be like all the "investigations" of civilian killings? [Mot one has reached a conclusion that anything wrong was done by anyone.] Pentagon launches Halliburton inquiry.

Must read! The US is attacking free Iraqi unions with unexplained arrests of union leaders; U.S. Arrests Iraqi Union Leaders.

Both the Union of the Unemployed and the IFTU [Iraqi Workers Federation of Trade Unions] have been organizing Iraqi workers for months. The IFTU held a convention in Baghdad in June, at which it established unions in 12 industries. The Unemployed Union belongs to the Workers Unions and Councils group, which also has been organizing since last summer....
Iraqi workers fear privatization will bring massive layoffs. "I'll have to fire 1,500 (of the refinery's 3,000) workers," says Dathar Al-Kashab, manager of the Al Daura oil refinery. "In America, when a company lays people off, there's unemployment insurance and they won't die from hunger. If I dismiss employees now, I'm killing them and their families...."
When these new unions try to talk with the plant managers, however, they're told that a 1987 law forbids workers in state-owned enterprises (where the majority of Iraqis work) from forming unions. The CPA still enforces this Saddam-era law. Another order issued by the CPA on June 6 threatens that anyone who "incites civil disorder" will be detained as a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention....
Workers fear new foreign owners will cut labor costs through layoffs. Resistance at the work site has been made illegal by laws banning unions and by the arrest of their leaders.

Human Rights Watch concluded that cluster bombs have needlessly killed hundreds of civilians, and they keep on dying: Hundreds of Iraqis 'killed by cluster bombs' . The bombs also killed American troops, as this father of a dead GI claims happened to his son: "My Son Stepped on an American Cluster Bomb" – Father of U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Speaks Out.

Former Saddam spies to form new agency to keep Iraqis in line: Iraqi spy service 'gets go-ahead'.

Bush eats a little crow: Canada not excluded from Iraq business.

A large "anti-terrorism" march in Baghdad: Thousands of Iraqis call for end to violence

"We didn't expect this big a crowd to respond," said al Yassiri, who's also secretary-general of the Iraqi National Coalition, an exile group. "It was hard to organize all these groups who filled the streets and the sidewalks...."
"There are so many jobless people. If foreign companies were to come here, there would be more jobs, but they will not come if they are afraid of terrorism, so we should protect these companies. We want to live," said Kareem Abed Kareen, 52, who's unemployed....
But not everyone was feeling peaceful. "What did Saddam do for us? He slaughtered us all. What did the Americans do for us? They slaughtered us all," said an angry woman in a head-to-toe black abaya.

Many of New Iraq Soldiers Quit.

Here is the US that knocks Canada, France, Germany, and Russia out of the reconstruction contracts: Determination and Findings that knocks Canada, France, Germany, and Russia out of the reconstruction contracts. Its from the CPA Iraq Program Management Office at http://www.rebuilding-iraq.net/.

Resistance poetry everywhere, so the Baghdad Blogger reports in horror: In the looters' market, a DVD singing the praises of the so-called resistance is selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha.

"The men of Falluja are all as brave as wolves./They hit in the darkest nights with great precision./The sun of freedom will never set down on them./They fight in the name of Allah, followed by a big army."

Iraq officials and the occupation directly interfere with an effort to count the number of civilians killed during the war. One would presume that the numbers were higher than previous estimates: Iraq to Stop Counting Civilian Dead.

Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far

Not surprisingly, the US exclusion of Canada, France, Germany, and Russia from competing for Iraqi reconstruction contracts is coming under criticism; Critics blast Iraq contract ban.

It sure helps to have friends in high places! High Payments to Halliburton for Fuel in Iraq.

The United States government is paying the Halliburton Company an average of $2.64 a gallon to import gasoline and other fuel to Iraq from Kuwait, more than twice what others are paying to truck in Kuwaiti fuel, government documents show....
The Iraqi state oil company and the Pentagon's Defense Energy Support Center import fuel from Kuwait for less than half of Halliburton's price, the records show.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Iraqis can't understand why democracy means everyone must do whatever the Americans say: Iraqis grow cynical of U.S. pledge of democracy.

Another day, another "accident": Iraqi Shia protest US tank killing.

Hundreds of angry Muslims protested in the Iraqi capital over the death of a Shia cleric crushed under a US tank....
"The tank crushed the car and him. He died immediately. The US soldiers in the tank did not even stop to see what happened. They just left him on the ground...." The US army said a tank had been involved in a traffic accident that resulted "in an accidental death" and an inquiry was underway.

Unemployement ranges between 60% to 80%, average wages are $40 a month, but some are doing well enough to buy BMWs: With More Money to Spend, Middle-Class Iraqis Go Shopping.

In a war of conquest, to the victor belong the spoils! U.S. Bars Iraq Contracts for Nations That Opposed War.

Under the guidelines, which were issued on Friday but became public knowledge today, only companies from the United States, Iraq and 61 other countries designated as "coalition partners" will be allowed to bid on the contracts, which are financed by American taxpayers....
The directive by Mr. Wolfowitz does not spell out a precise argument for why allowing French, German and Russian companies to join in the competition for the contracts would hurt American security interests. But it suggests that the main motivation is to use the contracts as a reward for countries that participate in the American-led coalition and contribute troops to the American-led security effort.

According to CBS News' 60 Minutes, in the town of Karbala after the war the US arrested members of the elected city council and reinstalled the Baathist, police chief, who is hiring former Baathists to the police force and reorganizing the Baath party: Operation Iraqi Freedom? Notice, in addition, how 60 Minutes caught the occupiers in gross lies. Perhaps most notable is that this information is now entering the American mainstream media.

Not only have the Americans installed Saddam loyalists in the police department, they have tried to arrest two people selected by Karbala's leaders to serve on the city council. Akram al Zubaidi was appointed to be the city's spokesman and he had spent 11 years in Saddam's prisons. Yet when he complained to the Americans about the new police chief and the way they were trying to run the city, U.S. forces tried to arrest him. He managed to escape. He’s now a fugitive on the run....
Najeeb al Shami was the city councilor in charge of security in Karbala before the Marines took over and installed a Saddam loyalist in his place. Al Shami, who has a heart condition, was arrested by the Americans as an enemy prisoner of war, and cleared after it was determined that there was no evidence that he had committed belligerent acts against coalition forces. His son, Ahmed, says al Shami was rearrested a few days later and taken to Abu Ghrieb Prison....
60 Minutes followed Gen. Karpinski to the computer room and waited. She had told us that all prisoners were charged after an initial 72-hour processing period. But Najeeb al Shami had been in Abu Ghreib for more than a month. Finally, she was able to find him. “We've located the individual you were asking about and the process for him, the in-processing portion is not completed yet, and I've been asked not to release any additional information because his in-processing is not completed yet,” says Karpinski. Obviously, Kroft said, it’s taken a lot longer than 72 hours to process al Shami’s case.

The New York Times acknowledges that the US is actively trying to avoid democracy in Iraq, while secular Iraqi also worry about the Islamic state that may result if elections are held: Secular Leaders Worry That, Torn by Turmoil, Iraqis Will Elect an Islamic Theocracy.

Still, hardly anyone here doubts that the Americans had an unspoken motive for organizing the elections the way they did. By relying solely on official bodies, the selection process is likely to be insulated from the popular passions that might overcome full national elections. [In other words, like elections in Florida, they will only be allowed if they can be guaranteed to produce the desired result.]

An account of the alienation of poor Shia: The losing battle for Iraqi hearts and minds.

He reaches a conclusion: "The only good thing is that we don't have Saddam any more. Everything else is bad."

Free trade, and smuggling, flourish in the new Iraq: Making a killing in the new Iraq as cars, TVs, food and fridges flood in.

A Mississippi congressman, Rep. Gene Taylor, D, has raised the possibility that the military may be denying soldiers Purple Heart medals in order to keep the official casualty rates down: Combat casualty count doubted.

About 1,000 "pro-US" demonstrators marched in Baghdad recently: Iraqis march in salute to US. It was evidently organized by the Iraqi Democratic Trend. It will be interesting to see who this group is. Are they a US front, or an autonomous social force independent of increasingly brutal occupation authorities and the equally brutal resistance?

CPA incompetence, or malfeasance, hands Halliburton another billion. Good work if you can get it! Iraq delays hand Cheney firm $1bn.

Iraqis are increasingly fighting the Americans, for free elections: Shi'ite demonstrators demand elections.

Members of a Shi'ite Muslim movement demonstrated outside the local coalition headquarters yesterday to demand that elections be held before a new government and constitution are established.

Further evidence that democracy, as in the people deciding their government, is the last thing the US wants for Iraq: U.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer. See also the commentary by the Progressive's editor, Matthew Rothschild: Rigging Iraq's Elections.

[NYT:] Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country's entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the Iraqi Governing Council members say they never saw the plan to consider it.... As the American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly, they also argued to the Governing Council that the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical.... [A Governing] council member who favors national elections said: "I am irate. There is no doubt the situation would be different now, if we had known about this."
[Rothschild:] Listen to the rationale from Charles Heatley, spokesman for the U.S. occupation: "Rushing into a census in this time frame with the security environment that we have would not give the result that people want," he told the Times. Which people is he referring to? Bush and Bremer?... Or as Noah Feldman, a former adviser to Bremer, said in an article on November 29: "Simply put, if you move too fast, the wrong people get elected."

Jeremy Scahill, a reporter for Democracy Now!, describes how perfectly the US occupation has assumed the garb of the Saddam regime: Oh The Little Saddams We Weave.

One American soldier working on establishing the "new" Iraqi media said many of the Iraqi journalists are referring to the US commanders working with them as "Little Saddams...."
So far the only political campaigning that has been allowed in Iraq was George W Bush's 2 1/2 hour Thanksgiving tour of the Baghdad airport.
When Saddam held his last referendum on his presidency late last year, there was just one choice for Iraqi "voters": Yes or no. The way things look now, Iraqis may not even be granted that much of a say in their newly "liberated" country under Bremer.

Further evidence that the old regime is being restored. While some of the torturers for the former regime will be put on trial by their conquerer, others of the secret police will be hired to use their skills to track down opponents of the new occupation regime. Undoubtedly, they will use, new, US-sponsored torture techniques: Iraqis call for return of secret police. The article ignores reports circulating for months already that many of these people are already back working for the Americans.

Human rights trial appear in the works for Iraq, but the details are dictated by the US, which is sabotaging the International Criminal Court. Many human rights advocates are critical: Iraq to create war crimes tribunal in coming days. While few would defend the Saddam regime and its butchers, human rights trials require a concern for fairness to be effective. Given the total disregard for the rights of those arrested in Iraq today, and their alarmingly brutal treatment, there is serious cause for concern.

Some groups said the United States has dictated the terms of the tribunal — down to who would be prosecuted, and how — and worry that Iraqi judges and lawyers may not be up to the task.

Seems other countries aren't lining up to finance the US annexation of Iraq after all: Funds for Iraq Falling Short Of Pledges, Figures Show.

Even the New York Times is now reporting how the US treats wide swaths of Iraq as enemy territory, mimicking Israel tactics again the Palestinians: Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns. Note the usual racist excuses that the occupied people only understand force. No wonder Bremer indicates that troops will remain indefinitely.

In Abu Hishma, encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only....
"This is absolutely humiliating," said Yasin Mustafa, a 39-year-old primary school teacher. "We are like birds in a cage...."
"I see no difference between us and the Palestinians," he said. "We didn't expect anything like this after Saddam fell...."
[T]he new strategy must punish not only the guerrillas but also make clear to ordinary Iraqis the cost of not cooperating. "You have to understand the Arab mind," Capt. Todd Brown, a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division, said as he stood outside the gates of Abu Hishma. "The only thing they understand is force — force, pride and saving face...."
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," Colonel Sassaman said.

Bremer announces what the future Iraqi government "will" do. Evidently, Sovereignty doesn't mean making decisions, only doing what your US masters say: US army will remain in Iraq after transfer of power: Bremer.

"The Iraqi Government and the Governing Council and the transition government will express their desire that the coalition forces continue to help after July next year because the Iraqi security forces will not be ready by then," Mr Bremer told a coalition run television channel Al-Iraqiya. "And I am sure that is what will happen," he said. "At the moment we do not have agreement, but we have informed the Governing Council we intend to sign an agreement which allows coalition forces to continue to help Iraq to defend itself and to defend itself against former regime members after July 1."

The plunder is on: At U.S. Meeting, Iraq Appears Open for Business.

The Washington Monthly reports that the CPA is staffed largely with inexperienced Republican ideologues. No wonder the US has made a royal mess over there. Who's Who In The Coalition Provisional Authority.

[T]he architects of the war chose card-carrying Republicans--operatives, flacks, policy-wonks and lobbyists--for almost every key assignment in the country....
CPA officials say that the older GOP functionaries do a reasonable job keeping their partisanship publicly under wraps. But the younger Republicans in Iraq spend much of their time plotting against the Democrats. "Everything is seen in the context of the election, and how they will screw the Democrats," said one CPA official. "It was really pretty shocking to hear them talk...."
It's also driven journalists on the ground, watching these operatives move in and out of Saddam's marble Republican Palace, which CPA commandeered as its headquarters, to joke: "They don't call it the Republican Palace for nothing."

US insists that democracy is not in the cards for Iraq, only "elections" by US-chosen leaders. The Shia leaders want power and aren't playing along: U.S. Resistance to Direct Vote Galvanizes Iraq's Shiite Clerics.

Winning hearts and minds, again: US Army Uses Bulldoze Threat to Get Iraqis to Talk.

Here is testimony of a 16 year old Iraq detained by US troops, recorded by a Christian Peacemaker Team member: Human Rights Testimonies from Iraq: #1 - Testimony of an Iraqi Minor Detained and Mistreated by US Forces. For additional testimony go to Human Rights Testimonies Recorded by CPTers in Iraq. Surely an international investigation of this mistreatment and punishment of the criminals in charge (namely, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Bremer) is called for!

"The water they gave us for drinking was also kept out in the sun with us. This way it was too hot to drink. Another day I asked a soldier for water, because I hadn't had anything to drink for the entire day in the sun. He beat me on my back and chest, while another soldier kicked me in the back. Both were verbally abusive towards me during the beating
"We were treated like animals. The soldiers would grab us by the head and shove us in the direction they wanted us to move. When we were beaten, I couldn't distinguish when it was from a baton and when it was with fists.
"My brother asked for some water. The guard gagged him and began beating him around his mouth until blood started flowing from his mouth. My brother screamed in pain. We also screamed in protest, and to encourage him to scream so they would stop this abuse. We were then beaten also, for advising him to scream. We were beaten in the neck, back, and behind." [The boy demonstrated how and where he was beaten. He indicated that his buttocks were held apart and he was kicked in the anus]. "It is because of this beating that my father is now suffering from a heart condition."
"I was released wearing only my underwear and forced to walk back to my home in broad daylight."

Is this what "private contractors" do? And how Iraqis are "dealt with"? 1-shot killer: This 5.56mm round has all the stopping power you need — but you can’t use it. Here’s why:. See a video about this bullet at A better bullet: Blended-metal ammo rates realistic testing.

Iraqification? Iraqi fighters to form anti-guerrilla militia.

Another account of the dangers of being an Iraqi "liberated" by gun-toting Americans: Civilian deaths raise Iraqi fears, anger. Seems the troops may be taking their role as "police" rather literally, using the US police technique of hiding unit identification.

[When Iraqi lawyers file complaints or compensation claims] "The military always demands to know the number of the unit, which Iraqis never know," he said. So common has that demand become that some Iraqis, including Sa'adi, believe that "the soldiers take the number of the unit off their uniforms and their vehicles so nobody knows which unit is involved....."
Sifting through hospital records and newspaper reports, the Cambridge-based Project on Defense Alternatives last month estimated that about 200 Iraqi civilians had been killed by American firepower since May 1....

Chalmers Johnson analyzes THE WAR BUSINESS: squeezing a profit from the wreckage in Ira. [From Harpers]

This is the future. When war becomes the most profitable course of action, we can certainly expect more of it.

Even Time suggests that the US is routinely violating the Geneva Accords while alienating the Iraqi population with their jackboot tactics: Losing Hearts And Minds: Unmoved by Bush's visit, Iraqis blame the U.S. for civilian deaths, missing detainees and razed homes.

Mohammed Ali Karam wants to kill a U.S. soldier. He doesn't love S addam Hussein, and he was happy in April when U.S. Marines rolled through his Baghdad neighborhood on their way to liberate the capital. But he turned against the Americans the night he saw his brother Hussein, 27, take two bullets in the neck....
The last time Raed Karim al-Ani saw his brother Mohammed, 27, was in mid-May, when the taxi driver climbed into his battered 1983 Volkswagen and chugged out the driveway of his parents' house. In early July two men came to the house with Mohammed's ID card and car, and said they had seen U.S. soldiers pin him to the ground at a checkpoint, then haul him away....
Asked by Time about Mohammed's case, a U.S. military official in Baghdad replied by e-mail that there was a surefire place to check: the master list of detainees' names that every police station now has. Armed with this answer, Mohammed's brother Adil went to al-Jihad police station near the family home last week and asked for the list. The lieutenant on duty drew a blank, saying he had no knowledge of one.

Oxford Research International conducted a household survey in Iraq. The BBC emphasizes the good news for the US/UK, that people are thrilled that Saddam is gone: Iraqis 'welcome Saddam's fall', while Reuters emphasizes the bad: Iraqis Do Not Trust U.S.-Led Forces - Survey.

[BBC:] According to what is described as the first truly representative survey of Iraqi opinion, people in Iraq believe that the best thing that happened in the past 12 months was the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime.
[Reuters:] Nearly 80 percent of Iraqis have little or no trust in U.S.-led occupying forces and most place their faith in religious leaders instead, according to a major survey published in Britain on Monday.

The Resistance

Occupation Resistance Analysis

The Iraqi deaths from resistance bombings continue on New Years Eve: 5 Killed in Blast at Baghdad Restaurant.

The death toll from the Karbala attacks has risen to 18, as five more Iraqis died: US soldier killed in Baghdad as Karbala death toll climbs to 18. Meanwhile, in addition to the US soldier mentioned in the above article, two Iraqi children were killed in Baghdad. Five US soldiers and eight members of the Iraqi civil defense corps were wounded: Baghdad blast kills one U.S. soldier and two Iraqi children.

Add Bulgarians to the dead: Four Bulgarian Soldiers Dead, Many Wounded in Iraq. (Reuters) An hour later, more detail on the extent of the destruction: Multiple attacks wreak havoc on Iraqi city: 4 coalition soldiers, 6 Iraqi police, 1 civilian killed; over 170 hurt. (AP/MSNBC) A few hours later it was announced that two Thai troops died as well: Troops dead in Iraq city blasts (BBC).

[AP/MSNBC]Armed with car bombs, mortars and machine guns, insurgents launched three coordinated attacks in the southern city of Karbala on Saturday.... "It was a coordinated, massive attack planned for a big scale and intended to do much harm," said Maj. Gen. Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, head of the Polish-led multinational force responsible for security around Karbala..... "Four car bombs were used, grenade launchers and guns...."
The attackers targeted two military coalition camps at the city's university and at a police station, as well as the mayor's office.

No Christmas for some. Bomb attacks yesterday killed 3 US troops and at least 5 Iraqis: Bomb attacks kill Iraqis, US soldiers.

An interesting Newsweek article on US counterinsurgency strategies: Operation Hearts and Minds -- HARD LESSONS: With Saddam behind bars, Iraq is now a test of counterinsurgency, where you can win battles but still lose the war. Of course, like virtually all US press accounts, it simply assumes that the US motives are on the side of the angels. Oil isn't mentioned. Neither are permanent military bases. Those are clearly beyond polite discourse, except among the right that freely admits those motives in their candid moments.

A more accurate measure of reality in Iraq is the color-coded road system. Roads and highways in Iraq are classified by the U.S. military as green (safe), yellow (dangerous; no travel at night) and red (closed to military traffic). There are no green routes left except in the far north; all other routes are usually yellow and occasionally red. Route 1, the road north out of Baghdad, is routinely red. (Latest joke: What does the front desk ask you when you check into the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad? Which side of the hotel do you want: the bullet side or the rocket side?)
Conway, the overall Marine commander in Iraq, was astonishingly blunt in distinguishing the Marine way from the mailed fist used by the Army's armored divisions. The Marines, Conway was clear, "do not plan to surround villages with barbed wire, demolish buildings used by insurgents or detain relatives of suspected guerrillas. The Marines do not plan to fire artillery at suspected guerrilla mortar positions, an Army tactic that risks harming civilians. Nor do the Marines want to risk civilian casualties by calling in bombing strikes on the insurgents ..."
"The Americans say there are 23 resistance groups," said the resistance spokesman, identified only as Abdullah, operating in the Fallujah region. "Only one of them is made up of Saddam's supporters. I have not met a single member of the resistance who received money from Saddam. We get our money from wealthy Iraqis and our weapons from the former Iraqi Army."

Time magazine reports on: Iraq's Resistance After Saddam: TIME's Michael Ware talks to the Iraqi insurgents about the impact of Saddam's capture on those fighting the U.S..

Two Baghdad cells with which I am familiar have temporarily suspended operations, moving into what one of the cell leaders described as a "technical" phase during which the new U.S. tactics will be studied, in order to formulate new modes of operation. Other cells, even those within the same broad network, have continued their attacks. At least one, deeply fanatical cell from this same organization has actually stepped up its strike rate in a blush of rage since Saddam's capture....
There's no question that Saddam's arrest struck a heavy psychological blow, even though most of the fighters weren't pining for his return to power. His capture has destroyed a sense of infallibility that had begun to take root among the insurgents...
The guerrillas also know now, more than ever, that they are vulnerable. If Saddam can be captured, so can anyone. But this sense may pass — indeed, I can already see it ebbing away with the week not yet over. Among the broad spectrum of insurgents — disaffected and nationalist Iraqis, Fedayeen loyalists, Islamists and foreign jihadis — only a small proportion is likely to be deterred by the capture....
Overall, the new phase of the conflict is likely to see a decline in the number and frequency of attacks carried out by each cell, as the guerrillas take more care to disguise themselves and protect their operations. But future attacks may be better crafted and targeted to inflict greater damage. As one mujahid told me in a dark field one night this week, "The games are over, this is more serious than ever."

More bombings: Bombers kill 8 policemen in Baghdad, wound 22, in anti-U.S. insurgency.

Despite the capture, it appears that the war goes on: Car bomb kills 17, wounds 30 policemen in western Iraq.

Some are, some aren't: Iraqi resistance deeply divided over Saddam Hussein's role.

US looses control of Samarra, at least temporarily: Iraqi town's balance of power stays in doubt. Note that the Lt Col of the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) was a "13-year veteran of the Iraqi Republican Guard", one of Saddam's elite unit. Give one real faith in the ICDC's commitment to protecting civilian rights.

The ICDC men guard checkpoints outside the town. They wear green balaclavas so locals cannot recognise them.

More attacks: U.S. copter forced to ground in Iraq: Grenade attack suspected; also 41 soldiers wounded in suicide attack

Time teases about an upcoming extensive report on interviews with Iraqi insurgents: Iraq Insurgents Show Off Firepower to Time.

As seen from the inside, the insurgency looks as complex and diverse an enemy as the U.S. could possibly face.

If Seymour Hersh is right in this report from the New Yorker, the Iraqi occupation is about to get a lot dirtier, with the US adopting the assassination techniques that worked so well in Vietnam, Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, ... Moving Targets: Will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam?

Americans in the field are trying to solve that problem by developing a new source of information: they plan to assemble teams drawn from the upper ranks of the old Iraqi intelligence services and train them to penetrate the insurgency. The idea is for the infiltrators to provide information about individual insurgents for the Americans to act on. A former C.I.A. station chief described the strategy in simple terms: “U.S. shooters and Iraqi intelligence....”
One of the key planners of the Special Forces offensive is Lieutenant General William (Jerry) Boykin.... [Presumably, fighting his holy war against the false Islamic god.]
The American-Israeli liaison on Iraq amounts to a tutorial on how to dismantle an insurgency. One former Israeli military-intelligence officer summarized the core lesson this way: “How to do targeted killing, which is very relevant to the success of the war, and what the United States is going to have to do.” He told me that the Americans were being urged to emulate the Israeli Army’s small commando units, known as Mist’aravim, which operate undercover inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip.... [Note, of course, that the Americans are taking lessons from the Israeli attempt to destroy a popular resistance to occupation, and have nothing to do with "liberation"]
The requirement that America’s Special Forces units operate in secrecy, a former senior coalition adviser in Baghdad told me, has provided an additional incentive for increasing their presence in Iraq. The Special Forces in-country numbers are not generally included in troop totals.

Parents of US soldiers go to Iraq to see for themselves what their children face: Anti-war parents of American soldiers brave hostility at home to see the real story in Iraq.

Robert Fisk reports what he views as the First evidence of foreign fighters in Iraq.

The Independent's Phil Reeves reports from Samarra:

The people of Samarra are not alone in their scepticism. A senior official from the occupation authorities in Baghdad said, with evident exasperation: "We said this would happen ... it isn't right."

Even the New York Times is now publishing interviews with resistance fighters, under the title "The Foe" of course: The Foe: A Tale of War: Iraqi Describes Battling G.I.'s.

Another interview with a resistance cell leader, by UPI: Interview with anti-U.S. Iraqi cell and Inside the Iraqi resistance -- 2.

Attacks on Iraq's Oil Better Planned.

More on the mystery of Samarra: Mystery shrouds whereabouts of bodies of 54 insurgents said killed by US.

If the US troops killed 46 and captured 11 of them, only three of the survivors would have been left to pick up the corpses.

Bush may sneak into a US military base, but less and less of Iraq is safe for Americans, as the Boston Globe reports that the insurgency is spreading beyond the "Sunni triangle": Guerrilla War in Iraq Spreading: US Says Attacks on Rise Outside Sunni Triangle.

Since the end of major combat operations on May 1, nearly 40 percent of attacks on US and coalition targets have been outside the Sunni Triangle... according to internal Defense Department reports obtained by the Globe....
Since May, when major combat operations were declared over, a total of 2,227 guerrilla attacks took place in the Sunni Triangle, according to figures as of the end of last week. The rest of the country has had 1,416 attacks, most of them against occupation forces.

Antiwar priest John Dear tells how the National Guard "attacked" his house, and how he responded with call for them to disobey: The Soldiers At My Front Door.

Suddenly, at 7 a.m., the shouting got dramatically louder. I looked out the front window of the house where I live, next door to the church, and there they were--all 75 of them, standing yards away from my front door, in the street right in front of my house and our church, shouting and screaming to the top of their lungs, “Kill! Kill! Kill!” Their commanders had planted them there and were egging them on.

As in Vietnam, many of the pro-US police are actually spies for the resistance: US Bases Grapple With Infiltration by Iraqi Fighters: A foiled plot against the commander of 5,000 troops around Mosul points to a vulnerability: heavy reliance on local translators and workers.

A first-person account of the battle in Samarra, from A Combat Leader: The Inside Skinny Of The Biggest Battle Since The Iraq War Ended. This originally appeared on David Hackworth's site, so I can't vouch for it, though he may be able to.

Hack, most of the casualties were civilians, not insurgents or criminals as being reported....
The ROE under "Iron Fist" is such that the US soldiers are to consider buildings, homes, cars to be hostile if enemy fire is received from them (regardless of who else is inside. It seems too many of us this is more an act of desperation, rather than a well thought out tactic. We really don't know if we kill anyone, because we don't stick around to find out....
As one would expect from using our overwhelming firepower, much of Samarra is fairly well shot up. The tanks and brads rolled over parked cars a nd fired up buildings where we believed the enemy was.... Not all the people in this town were hostile, but we did see many people firing from rooftops or alleys that looked like average civilians, not the Feddayeen reported in the press.... Since we did not stick around to find out, I am very concerned in the coming days we will find we killed many civilians as well as Iraqi irregular fighters.

Not unexpectedly, there are conflicting accounts of the major conflict in Samarra today, during which between 8 and 54 Iraqis were killed The UK Press Association reports: Locals Dispute U.S. Claims of 54 Dead in Iraqi Battle. Agence France Presse presents more details contradicting the official US account blasted across the US press: Devastation in Iraqi Town as US Responds to Ambush with Deadly Fire.

[The Press Association:] A kindergarten was damaged, apparently by tank shells. No children were hurt. “Luckily we evacuated the children five minutes before we came under attack,” said Ibrahim Jassim, a 40-year-old guard at the kindergarten. “Why did they attack randomly? Why did they shoot a kindergarten with tank shells?”
[Agence France Presse:] Samarra's police chief, Colonel Ismail Mahmud Mohammed, said the guerrillas who attacked the US forces, wounding five soldiers and a civilian according to a US toll, had withdrawn by the time the Americans returned fire. He charged that the US troops had fired indiscriminately using all the weapons in their arsenal. Anguished residents, including middle-aged men, could be seen hugging each other in grief after the carnage on the streets, which tribal leaders warned would only increase support for Washington's foes in the mainly Sunni Muslim town.

Background on the town of Samarra is provided by Felicity Arbuthnot: Samarra - Another Falluja?

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

It's not about the oil? 1973 US threat to seize oilfields.

The United States considered using force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during an oil embargo by Arab states in 1973, according to British government documents just made public.

As this year of invasion and death ends, Jimmy Breslin is moved by an Army Times spread showing pictures of the dead GIs: Their Photos Tell the Story .

Colin Powell puts forth a new official fantasy about the wonders of US foreign policy, from the journal Foreign Affairs. According to spinmeister Powell, there is no doctrine of preemption, only a successful, collaborative approach to foreign policy: A Strategy of Partnerships.

At last, a Special Counsel has been appointed to investigate the leak, most likely by White House officials as retaliation, that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA agent: Special counsel to lead CIA probe.

Paul Bremer calls Tony Blair's claims a lie: US rubbishes Blair’s WMD claim.

Praful Bidwai, winner of the Sean MacBride Prize for 2000 of the International Peace Bureau comments on the dangerous forces being unleashed in Iraq that could affect us all for generations: The growing danger in Iraq.

Recently, perhaps unidentified gunmen killed the most important Shia cleric of Najaf, Baqir al-Hakim. Many Iraqis, including al-Hakim’s relations, believe this was the work of the Israeli Mossad. Mossad practised these very tactics in Lebanon in the early 1980s to break up the Palestinian resistance based there.
Iraq’s break-up could well plunge the whole world into an apocalyptic confrontation between the Western powers and radical Islamists - a horrendous enactment of the nightmarish pseudo-theory of the ‘Clash of Civilisations’.

Peace on Earth! This Christmas, we need a reminder of that marvelous day in 1914 when the troops in the Great War stopped firing at each other and shared a night together. A new book says it was planned well in advance by German soldiers who were part of a massive peace movement. They spoke English, as they had been "guest workers" in Britain, a reminder that globalization can sometimes build ties between workers in countries far apart. The German troops lobbed chocolate cake at their British counterparts, laced with notes calling for a truce. It turns out the truce lasted days, even months, before the Generals exacted such harsh discipline that they could get the troops back to killing each other. One can't help but think that, for a while, these soldiers possessed knowledge that the world is sorely in need of today. 1914 Christmas truce 'planned by thousands of German soldiers'.

Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe columnist, write movingly: Against the War, For the Soldiers.

Former Marine General Anthony Zinni thinks the Iraq occupation is a recap of Vietnam, and isn't afraid to say so. He also feels his one foray into politics, and endorsement of Bush-Cheney, was a mistake never to be repeated: For Vietnam Vet Anthony Zinni, Another War on Shaky Territory .

American-Arab journalist Ramzy Baroud discusses his complex reactions to seeing pictures of Saddam's capture: Conflicted Feelings About the Capture of Saddam.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery discusses the US gloating at Saddam's capture, and the US motivations for invading in the first place: The Americans invaded Iraq in order to remain there.

The Americans invaded Iraq in order to remain there They did not invade because of "international terror". Nor because of "weapons of mass destruction". It's the oil that drew them there. The aim of the United States was not to topple Saddam and go home, but to create a permanent American military base in the Arab world, in a country that has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world and is also located within easy reach of the oil riches of Saudi Arabia and the Caspian Sea....
Good. But Saddam has been eliminated - and the Americans are not heading home. Elections could be held at once. But the Americans refuse. They want to keep their marionettes in place, so they can invite the Americans to stay forever. The American occupation will last a long, long \ time. It is not a means. It is the aim.

The National Security Archive Saddam Hussein Sourcebook and their December 18, 2003 Saddam Hussein: More Secret History have many newly declassified documents about the warm fuzzy relationship between the US and Saddam, including Rumsfeld's instructions to make sure Saddam understood that US public statements against their use of chemical weapons were not to be taken seriously. See also the article Rumsfeld's '84 Visit was to Reassure Iraqis:Trip Followed Criticism Of Chemical Arms' Use.

Capitalism breeds everything. There's now a thriving business in fake Iraqi documents: Dubious Link Between Atta and Saddam: A document tying the Iraqi leader with the 9/11 terrorist is probably fake. .

A widely publicized Iraqi document that purports to show that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta visited Baghdad in the summer of 2001 is probably a fabrication that is contradicted by U.S. law-enforcement records showing Atta was staying at cheap motels and apartments in the United States when the trip presumably would have taken place, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and FBI documents. [Don't worry, Bush, Cheney, nd Blair will cite the document anyway.]
"It's a lucrative business," says Hassan Mneimneh, codirector of an Iraqi exile research group reviewing millions of captured Iraqi government documents. "There's an active document trade taking place … You have fraudulent documents that are being fabricated and sold" for hundreds of dollars a piece.

I have been sent this site by its creators. Warning, it's rather gruesome. An Iraqi child is thanking America for its freedom!!!

Ira Chernus points out the Saddam's capture is a result of a systematic campaign of torture lite engaged in by the US against hundreds, or thousands? U.S. "Torture Lite" Led To Saddam's Capture.

That's how The Good Guys hunted down the Number One Bad Guy, "squeezing" children and grandparents. It's the same kind of "squeezing" they do at Guantanamo Bay -- all sorts of unpleasant things done to people merely suspected of some undefined link with some undefined evil.... And it was all done in our name, by our employees, paid with our tax dollars.
Once you call that ethically OK, where does it stop? Once you torture or threaten to torture the first person, once you say, "Well, it's only a little bit of torture," you are on a slippery slope that leads nowhere but down. If morality is a just matter of degree, who gets to say how much evil a moral person can do and still remain moral? How do you justify just a little torture, or even the threat of a little torture? If that is OK, then what about a little murder, or a little rape, or just a little sexual assault lite on somebody's daughter?

Robert Fisk meditates on Saddam's Cold Comfort's and on the nature of Saddam's evil: Saddam Hussein, Like Adolf Hitler, Will Live on for Millions of People.

Dictators remain in the mind, to poison again, to torture once more. Saddam has gone. Saddam lives. And we think the war is over.

Michael Sky [see his Thinking Peace web site] discusses Saddam's capture in the light of the pervasive humiliation of many in the middle east: Domination by Humiliation.

"The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein. I find it very interesting that when the heat got on, you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it."George W. Bush This is what the Misleader of the Free World had to say on the day of his great triumph. With the whole world listening, and people everywhere joining in the celebration of Saddam's final end, the best our pampered, petulant prince could come up with was smirking schoolyard taunts. All that was missing was Saddam's supine body, Bush's foot on his belly, thumping his chest, the moment framed for the cameras....
They hate us because, at the moment of their defeat, the most powerful man in the world acts like a six-year-old bully.

The The Patriotism Police The Patriotism Police from This Modern World warns of what happens to those not "deliriously happy" upon hearing the news of Saddam's capture.

Paul Krugman discusses the military-industrial kleptocracy that's collecting billions for "horrible" work, like blood in the soldier's meals and dangerous debris in the "renovated" schools: Patriots and Profits.

Stephen R. Shalom has performed a very valuable service by taking an Associated Press chronology of Saddam's life and adding back in all those pesky little details left out, namely the US support and aid for his butchery over the decades: A Saddam Chronology.

It is a matter of principle in Washington that Americans not be held to the same international standards as others.

Tom Engelhardt's analysis of Saddam's capture and the reaction to it: The morning after.

I hate to say, hold on, even for a minute. After all, we now seem to live by the second. A longer view, one that extends at least several hours, if not days or months, into the past and the prospective future just isn't in the cards in moments like this....
Certainly, for many Iraqis there was relief and joy on Sunday. Given the grisly history of Saddam's rule that's hardly surprising. But here's the thing, for them there's a hell of a morning hangover to follow -- and the hangover is us....
These are men who know that first impressions matter and initial moments can be crucial, and this was their best shot. So let's look at the production they actually put together because what they can't see about themselves or really do anything about -- those tiger's stripes that they will never change -- tell us much about the longer term reality that lies just behind the euphoria of the moment and will actually determine our future in Iraq.

Now they tell us! Administration figures told the Big Lie to 75 Senators in order to get the war vote: Senators were told Iraqi weapons could hit U.S.: Nelson said claim made during classified briefing.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.

The first Gallup Poll since the capture. Only a little change: Americans Consider Saddam Capture "Major Achievement," but War Support Unchanged: Most Americans say capture won't affect their vote for president.

Stephen Zunes places Saddam's capture and likely trial in the context of US protection for brutal tyrants when they are US allies. He claims that no US-sponsored trial can possibly be seen as fair. Only the UN or the International Criminal Court will have any international legitimacy: Saddam’s Arrest Raises Troubling Questions.

As everyone talks of a trial and the importance of punishing evil, its important to remember how much of Saddam's evil was committed with US help. For a summary, see: U.S._support_for_Iraq in the 1980s. For a list of US corporations that aided Saddam go to: Made in the USA, Part III: The Dishonor Roll. America’s corporate merchants of death in Iraq. See also: Iraq: U.S. military items exported or transferred to Iraq in the 1980s, United States General Accounting Office, released February 7, 1994; U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their possible impact on health consequences of the Gulf War, 1994 Report by the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Anthrax for Export.; U.S. had key role in Iraq buildup; trade in chemical arms allowed despite their use on Iranians and Kurds; and Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. policy and the prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994.

In his inimitable way, Michael Moore comments: We Finally Got Our Frankenstein... and He Was In a Spider Hole!.

Maybe we never would have been in the situation we're in if Rumsfeld, Bush, Sr., and company hadn't been so excited back in the 80s about their friendly monster in the desert.
Meanwhile, anybody know where the guy is who killed 3,000 people on 9/11? Our other Frankenstein?? Maybe he's in a mouse hole.
So many of our little monsters, so little time before the next election....
Only our desire to play Dr. Frankenstein dooms us all.

Senator Robert C. Byrd spoke the following at the 138th Anniversary Celebration of The Nation: Chellenging 'Pre-emption'.

Greg Palast has his own idiosyncratic analysis of Saddam's capture: Jessica Lynch Captures Saddam: Ex-dictator Demands Back Pay from Baker.

White House spin doctors and propaganda experts at the Pentagon are at this time wrestling with the question of whether to claim PFC Jessica Lynch seized the ex-potentate or that Saddam surrendered after close hand-to-hand combat with current Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer III....
Ex-President Hussein himself told US military interrogators that he had surfaced after hearing of the appointment of his long-time associate James Baker III to settle Iraq's debts. "Hey, my homeboy Jim owes me big time," Mr. Hussein stated. He asserted that Baker and the prior Bush regime, "owe me my back pay. After all I did for these guys you'd think they'd have the decency to pay up."

Martin Sieff of UPI argues that Saddam's capture will likely have no long-term effect on the Presidential race: Analysis: Saddam's capture boosts Bush.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has issued a policy statement: War in Iraq: Finding a Way Out of the Quagmire. They make 8 recommendations:

  1. Admit Problems and Mistakes
  2. Apply Rule of Law, Not Law of Force
  3. Seek Multilateral Assistance and Significant Participation
  4. Support Democracy at the Local Level
  5. Put Iraqis Back to Work
  6. Stop War Profiteering
  7. Pursue Human Rights, Justice, and Reconciliation
  8. Ensure Congressional Oversight

Ron Hutcheson sees the contracts hoopla as being one of a piece with Bush's retaliatory character: Retaliation Over Iraq Fits Bush's Pattern. On the other hand, Emad Mekay on Inter Press Service reports that many believe that: Iraq Contracts Expose Washington's True Aims - Critics.

[Emad Mekay:]However, some analysts here say the move raises doubts about whether the reconstruction of Iraq is the administration's main goal at all. "Wolfowitz's decree forces us all to ask the question again: are these reconstruction contracts for the benefit of Iraq, or are they political rewards, handed out to 'friends'?" said Rania Masri of the U.S.-based Institute for Southern Studies. Masri said the decision shows that "transforming the Iraqi economy for foreign ownership and foreign plunder is the main goal".... [Emphasis added]
The economic repercussions of the decision extend to other areas, analysts say. By excluding countries that have prior experience constructing Iraqi factories, electrical grids, hospitals and water pumping stations, Washington will likely end up rebuilding those facilities rather than simply repairing them -- a much more expensive endeavor....
"It has upended trade relations by using its status as occupying authority to monopolize a single market," she [Gayle Smith of the Washington-based Center for American Progress] said. "And it has certainly lent credence to the view held by some that one of its aims is to secure the spoils of victory." The White House decision has legitimized political interference in government procurement operations, setting the stage for future contracts to be subject to the whims of individual government agencies, Smith said. "It has upended trade relations by using its status as occupying authority to monopolize a single market," she said....
Neo-conservative analysts William Kristol and Robert Kagan wrote in the right-wing Weekly Standard that the policy was "heavy-handed", "stupid" and "counter-productive".

Charley Reese discusses the "new" strategy for winning Iraqi hearts and minds in light of his experience in Vietnam: Murder Inc..

It is, in short, to set up death squads, trained by Israelis and using Israelis as consultants in Iraq....
The idea is to hire some of the worst of the worst – members of Saddam's old secret police – to infiltrate the resistance and finger key players for the American murder squads. Thus, we climb in bed with the very people our boy president likes to moralize about – those dreaded evildoers. Only now they will be evildoers on our payroll instead of Saddam's.

Derrick Z. Jackson points out that US Evades Blame for Iraqi Deaths.

Paul Krugman is among those who see the public refusal to let anti-war countries bid on Iraq reconstruction contracts as a deliberate salvo in the civil war among the Republicans between the neocons and the "realists": A Deliberate Debacle.

Heather Gray claims that most people don't want to kill in war. She discusses the profound social consequences of overcoming this inhibition: Most Soldiers are Non-Killers in Battle: The Aftermath of State Sanctioned Violence and Who It Targets.

The fact that we don't want to kill is a thankful affirmation of our humanity. Do we really want to behaviorally modify our young men and women into professional, skilled killers? Do we really want to modify our youth's behavior in this way? Do we really want our youth desensitized to their own humanity and that of others?

Simon Jenkins argues that US/British fumblings in Iraq make a breakup of the country inevitable, and that this breakup should be planned so as to reduce attendant suffering: Needed: Iraqi boss with mo'.

To remind yourself of the cost in American lives of the war to enrich Bush's buddies, view the flash video at: http://www.ericblumrich.com/ma.html.

James Carroll analyzes the sordid motives that, he believes, prevent peace for the US: Why Peace Won't Come.

Why is it so difficult to make peace? In places like Northern Ireland and the Middle East, the answer is all about the passions of grief, unforgiven wounds, fears that won't yield. But in the United States, the answer is far more coarse. Not grief, hurt, or fear. Alas, the answer is money. War remains the turbine that drives America's economy -- therefore, its politics, its shallow pride.

Felicity Arbuthnot makes a very moving commentary of the concert of the Iraq National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC: Dear Mr President - About the Iraq National Symphony Orchestra....

Greg Palast analyzes why James Baker got the job of restructuring Iraq's debt. Hint: It doesn't have to do with Baker's success at helping the American populace not get bilked: Baker Takes the Loaf: The President's Business Partner Slices Up Iraq.

Come to think of it, maybe I'm being a bit too dismissive of the Iraqi make-believe government. After all, it's not as if George Bush were elected by the voters either. It would be more accurate to say that two puppet governments have agreed on letting the man who has always pulled the strings come out from behind the curtain, take a bow, take charge, take the money and run.

xIra Chernus comments on the absurdity and futility of the US occupation: U.S. Policy in Iraq Vanishing Down the Rabbit Hole.

Who should understand better than the Americans why it won't work? Imagine your home town turned into a prison. Imagine your spouse or your child imprisoned because one of their relatives is suspected of resisting the occupation. Imagine Iraqi soldiers ordering you around every day in Arabic, because they cannot speak English.

Newt Gingrich criticizes the performance, but not the goal, of the US occupation: Dissent in the Bunker: Newt Gingrich, a quiet Rumsfeld confidant, thinks the U.S. went ‘off a cliff’ in Iraq.

The Madison Times has an interesting account of Robert Fisk and his reporting from and interpretation of contemporary Iraq: Robert Fisk: An unflinching account of Iraq by a firsthand observer. It provides a nice summary of Fisk's perspective.

“This country of Iraq is living a tragedy of epic proportions and now, after its descent into hell under Saddam, we are doomed … to suffer [a repeat of history],” he said....
Fisk is no stranger to controversy. He is well-known for his belief that journalistic standards of objectivity make for ineffective reporting that too often becomes a mouthpiece for official viewpoints, an attitude that has attracted a great deal of criticism from many of his colleagues in journalism....
He [Fisk] doled out equal measures of criticism for the ousted government of Saddam Hussein; the interim U.S. occupational government, Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA); the collusion (as he saw it) of mainstream journalists in the campaign to justify the war; and the way the war itself was conducted. “None of what I'm going to show negates the evidence of Saddam's killing fields, his butchery against the Kurds and Shiites, his torture chambers … [but] wars are not the clean and bloodless sandpits that our colleagues like to pretend [they are],” he said....
By Fisk’s estimates, there have been weeks in which up to 1,000 Iraqis have died in the violent lawlessness that grips the country, yet the authorities do little to investigate, publicize, or prevent it.

In Britain, even former intelligence chiefs criticize the regime of lies: Intelligence heads under fire: Former chief delivers damning attack over Iraq war.

As usual, the White House appears to have lied about virtually every aspect of the vaunted Presidential trip to Baghdad. They weren't recognized by a British Air pilot as claimed, and Bush did not serve turkey to the troops. He only held a prop. Perhaps he meant to symbolize that he was a turkey? The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner: In Iraq Picture, Bush Is Holding the Centerpiece.

[A]dministration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.

Yet another White House lie. Do these guys ever tell the truth? White House Changes Story on Bush Plane Incident.

New poll shows Americans known more about democracy than their leaders: Does war in Iraq reduce threat of terrorism? 7 in 10 say no.

Four in five respondents agreed that Iraqis should be able to choose their own government, even if that government is unfriendly to the United States.

Jim Lobe reports on latest critiques of the Iraq occupation authorities by former government officials: Experts Returning from Iraq Criticize US Tactics.

Yet another detailed account of US planning for the occupation, by George Packer from the New Yorker: Letter from Baghdad: War After the War -- What Washington doesn’t see in Iraq..

The latest Noam Chomsky interview, placing the Iraq war in the larger context: Noam Chomsky, Interview: 'Of course, it was all about Iraq's resources' .

Jim Lobe asks why the US doesn't invite the UN to take over in Iraq and concludes that its because the UN would interfere with the plans for permanent US military bases there: Is It the Bases? While your at it, check out the locations of the US's Iraq Facilities. They're everywhere! And, in a perceptive analysis Tom Engelhardt points out that there are over 700 US bases scattered around the world: The squawking chicken. This is a Must Read piece for understanding the contemporary American empire that is viewed as such a danger by most of the world.

It turns out that if what's left when the two superpower race ends is one great empire, and global domination is still the name of its great imperial game, then one is plenty for an "arms race."

Robert Fisk comments on the Bush visit to the airport, and how todays'a evil will become tommorrow's friend: Tricky Stuff, Evil:The lies we tell our enemies who are now our friends.

But fear not. As the Americans try ever more desperately to escape from Iraq, the thugs and assassins will become the good guys again and the men of Evil in Iraq will be working for us. The occupation authorities have already admitted re-hiring some of Saddam's evil secret policemen to hunt down the evil Saddam. Tricky stuff, Evil.
Occupation Resistance Analysis

Complied by Stephen Soldz

Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
1581 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446
http://soldzresearch.com/stephensoldz
ssoldz@bgsp.edu

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