April 27, 2005

Why Bush Tried to Hide Terrorism Data

Previously: "The State Department announced last week that it was breaking with tradition in withholding the statistics on terrorist attacks from its congressionally mandated annual report." As the Washington Post reports on its front page, this is why:

The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week.

Overall, the number of what the U.S. government considers "significant" attacks grew to about 655 last year, up from the record of around 175 in 2003, according to congressional aides who were briefed on statistics covering incidents including the bloody school seizure in Russia and violence related to the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir.

Terrorist incidents in Iraq also dramatically increased, from 22 attacks to 198, or nine times the previous year's total -- a sensitive subset of the tally, given the Bush administration's assertion that the situation there had stabilized significantly after the U.S. handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government last summer.

Posted by Eric at 05:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005

Obstructionist Rice?

ThinkProgress.

Posted by Eric at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

No Colin Powell on Recent Bolton Letter

Will Colin come to the defense of UN-nominee John Bolton? Or will his silence speak for itself? From Steve Clemons at The Washington Note:

But five former Secretaries of State -- James A. Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz -- have co-signed a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar endorsing John Bolton's nomination to the U.N.

There is much to critique among these five -- but the FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION to ask today is WHY WASN'T THE LETTER 6??

Colin Powell probably scoffed when he got the letter request. He was Bolton's most recent boss, and he has failed to give Bolton an endorsement.

That says as much as the letter. Now, remember to call Lincoln Chafee -- and if you are up for it -- a call to Senator Hagel is now a good investment.

FYI:

Senator Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island (202) 224-2921

Senator Chuck Hagel, Nebraska, (202) 224-4224

Posted by Eric at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

Bolton's National Security Accomplishments

John Bolton's nomination, according to The Washington Note, might be delayed until Monday. A delay would be good because it gives more time for Bolton's critics to get information about Bolton to the Senators and their staff. Here's more on John Bolton, this time on his national security accomplishments; Bob Boorstin and Andrew Grotto in the Baltimore Sun:

But there is a much better reason for senators to reject the president's choice: Mr. Bolton's dismal record in his current job as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Simply put, his performance does not merit promotion. Mr. Bolton's failures have been devastating and directly concern what are the gravest threats to U.S. national security: nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran ... fewer fissile materials were secured in the two years after 9/11 than in the two years before. The reasons for the dismal progress are fundamentally political and concern disputes with the Russians over legal liability, access to sensitive sites and bureaucratic red tape. As the lead U.S. diplomat on nonproliferation, it was Mr. Bolton's job to clear these obstacles.

On his watch, North Korea likely has produced enough weapons-usable plutonium to quadruple the suspected size of its nuclear arsenal. When asked about this disturbing development, Mr. Bolton responded that concerns about the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal are "quibbling."

What seems to have escaped Mr. Bolton is that the difference between North Korea having one or two nuclear weapons - which the CIA has suspected for a decade - and many more weapons is that North Korea could be tempted to sell the extra weapons for cash to terrorists or anyone else willing to pay.

This lack of urgency is apparent in Mr. Bolton's dealings with North Korea. In the summer of 2003, he seemed to prefer calling the North Koreans names rather than keeping his eye on the ball: that North Korea is bent on acquiring a sizable nuclear arsenal ... Mr. Bolton mishandled Iran. Three times during his tenure as undersecretary, Tehran made secret overtures to the United States to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries, including Iran's weapons programs. The administration declined to respond to them.

Check out the Washington Note for more on Bolton.

Posted by Eric at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

Top Ten Reasons to Reject Bolton

See Democracy Arsenal. Gimme ... number 1!

1. He will be ineffective in representing U.S. interests. And this is most important of all. Promoting U.S. interests at the UN is an art and a science. A hammer is an essential part of UN diplomacy. But Bolton is missing the rest of the toolbox. See my article on Retail Diplomacy for more on how the US can get its way at the UN through crafty diplomacy.

Posted by Eric at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

That Pro-Bolton Letter

Dave Meyer in Tapped on that pro-Bolton letter.

A sample of the signatories:

Christopher DeMuth, current president of AEI
Barbara Comstock, a glorified Republican opposition researcher
Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, a dynamic partnership of partisan smearmeisters
Newt Gingrich, whom you might have heard of
Bob Livingston, Gingrich's near-successor ... I hate to be a cynic, but it honestly looks to me like Gaffney just passed around an inter-office memo to his "National Security Advisory Council" and sent it to the Associated Press as soon as he had more signatories than did the anti-Bolton letter. Every name on that list is an active partisan in the conservative movement; they would support any nominee the president offered, regardless of merit, qualification, record, or temper. Compare this group to the signatories to the letter opposing Bolton, which is not only non-partisan, but was signed by more Republican appointees than Democratic.

Posted by Eric at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Why Bolton and Wolfowitz?

Two theories; 1) From Kevin Drum:

On a PR level, though, the message Bush is sending is plain. A number of pundits inexplicably thought that Bush might settle down in his second term and try to run a more conciliatory, less strident administration, and it's pretty obvious that he's trying to make it crystal clear that he has no intention of doing this. Second term Bush will be no different from first term Bush, and don't you forget it.

I never understood the wish fulfillment fantasies of people who thought Bush might change in his second term — he's obviously a guy with only one gear and a profound need to crush his enemies — but I wonder if anyone still believes this? If so, it's time to face the music. It's going to be a long four years.

2) From Matt Yglesias
Instead, they're being shipped out to institutions that the President doesn't think are important. Potentially, at least, what's going on here is that they're being kicked upstairs, and this is the way a man who doesn't like admitting to mistakes is admitting that he made mistakes. Even if this is right, these aren't measures I approve of, because I think the UN and the World Bank are important and there's every reason to think Wolfowitz and Bolton will ill-serve the interests of the United States and the world in those roles.

Posted by Eric at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

How Sad

As if the World Bank didn't have enough issues to deal with, now it has someone who, as Think Progress notes, is "blind to the impact poverty has on dangers like terrorism and civil unrest."

“If we want stability on our planet, we must fight to end poverty. Since the time of the Bretton Woods Conference, through the Pearson Commission, the Brandt Commission, and the Brundtland Commission, through to statements of our leaders at the 2000 Millennium Assembly - and today - all confirm that the eradication of poverty is central to stability and peace.” – Outgoing World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, 10/3/04

VERSUS

“These people are not fighting because they’re poor. They’re poor because they fight all the time. ” – President Bush’s nominee for World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, Congressional Testimony, 6/6/96

“We hear a lot of talk about the root causes of terrorism. Some people seem to suggest that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. It’s a little hard to look at a billionaire named Osama bin Laden and think that poverty drove him to it.” – Wolfowitz, 11/15/2002

Posted by Eric at 01:14 AM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2005

John Bolton, Niger and Uranium

Oh my!, link via Bold Print. A clippity clip:

Waxman is basically blowing the whistle on the administration's extravagant use of "sensitive but unclassified" designations on official acts to block public access to and transparency of government policymaking.

On pages 5-7, Waxman reveals that John Bolton promulgated the Niger-Uranium fiction at the State Department despite rejection of this claim by State Department and CIA intelligence analysts.

Waxman then argues that not only did Bolton and his people then try and conceal Bolton's role in pushing the Niger-Uranium agenda by marking the material "sensitive but unclassified" and blocking it in case of a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department actually LIED TO CONGRESS about John Bolton's role.

Is there any job Bolton is more qualified for, besides master of the universe? Taipei Times editorial with what it all means:
Bolton, a long time critic of the UN and currently the State Department's top diplomat for weapons nonproliferation, has been outspoken in blasting the organization for being ineffective and not conducive to US interests.

"There is nobody in the [Bush] administration that takes the issue of United Nations reform more seriously than John Bolton and you can be sure he will not shy away from speaking his mind," said Brett Schaefer, a diplomatic analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

Bush's selection surprised officials at the UN and in Europe at a time when he is trying to rehabilitate trans-Atlantic alliances badly damaged during his first four years in office over the Iraq War. It reinforces the perception that Bush is a unilateralist unconcerned with the views of the US' closest friends.

Bolton is known for speaking his mind and is strongly supported by Vice President Dick Cheney, who lobbied for his position in the State Department over the objections of the more moderate and then-secretary of state Colin Powell.

US conservatives, especially within Congress, have been pushing for change at the UN, and for years blocked the payment of US dues until after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bolton has long shared their view, emphasizing in 1994 the importance of the US in leading the world, rather than the UN that can rarely agree on a single policy, leaving it incapable of acting decisively.

And Ian Williams on the "perverse UN pick."

Posted by Eric at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

Who is John Bolton?

Someone who has no respect for international law and organizations - so it's a good thing he's going to be our rep to the United Nations!

He has been called a "treaty-killer" and a "guided missile."[i] He is known as the "undersecretary for chads" and the "anti-diplomat."[ii] Recently he called concerns over how many nuclear weapons North Korea possesses "quibbling." [iii] And, former Sen. Jesse Helms thinks of him as "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at the gates of Armageddon."[iv] And, if President Bush has his way, John Bolton will now answer to the title of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

At first blush, the choice may seem odd. After all, before entering the Bush administration in 2001, Bolton was infamous as a right-wing ideologue opposed to anything and everything that smacked of U.S. cooperation with or support for the United Nations. "If [the UN Secretariat building] lost 10 stories,” Bolton once quipped, “it wouldn't make a bit of difference." ... Though many on the left of the aisle do not agree with his views, few can claim him as incompetent. Indeed, Bolton has been effective: in his first one-and-a half years in office the U.S. pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, scuttled a protocol to the biological-weapons ban, ousted the head of the organization that oversees the chemical-weapons treaty, watered down an accord on small-arms trafficking and refused to submit the nuclear test-ban treaty for Senate ratification.[xv]

Posted by Eric at 04:33 PM | Comments (4)

January 27, 2005

"37 Troops Die on Deadliest Day in Iraq"

Tragic.

Posted by Eric at 03:53 AM | Comments (4)

December 31, 2004

Self-Inflicted Tsunami Damage

From Josh Micah Marshall in TPM:

Ayn Rand institute says US aid to disaster victims is wrong, though private charity "may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own." (emphasis added)

I'm waiting to hear about the minority of victims suffering because of self-inflicted tsunami damage.

Posted by Eric at 02:10 AM | Comments (13)

December 30, 2004

Moveon.org Email

Dear MoveOn member,

The tsunami in southern Asia and Africa may be the worst natural disaster of our time. More than 116,000 lives were wiped out within hours. The toll in death and suffering from smashed cities, broken families, rampant disease, and crippled economies cannot even be calculated. In the face of this horror, MoveOn members have poured in requests to help, asking how we can push through our sadness and lend a hand.

Rising to this challenge is at the heart of global leadership, and the world is depending on us. The U.S. government can lead billions of dollars of aid into this relief effort, if it chooses. Americans are generous and ready to step forward, but the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration have made a weak initial contribution to the effort -- first offering $15 million and then $35 million when they came under pressure. Clearly, we can do more.

Let Congress and the President know that Americans are supporting strong leadership in this relief effort -- that millions of lives are at stake and we have to help. In this hour of need, if America chooses to embrace our role as a world leader, we can have an unparalleled impact. Send a message to our leaders at:

http://www.moveon.org/tsunamirelief/

But we can't just wait for this Congress to move. We can help directly, as individuals, and save lives today. Our friends at Oxfam are already scrambling on the front lines to fight off starvation and disease -- and beginning to rebuild. Because Oxfam has worked for years with grassroots groups in the hardest hit areas, they were able to mobilize local leadership to help survivors immediately after the tsunami hit. And Oxfam will be there for the long-term, helping communities recover and regain their ability to meet basic needs. Oxfam needs to raise $5 million immediately to provide safe water, sanitation, food, shelter, and clothing to 36,000 families in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Your contribution can make this possible.

Please give what you can, at:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=631

Posted by Eric at 10:20 PM | Comments (20)

December 29, 2004

Clinton on the Aid Effort

From the AP:


"It is really important that somebody take the lead in this," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.


"I think one of the problems is when everybody takes responsibility it's almost like no one's responsibility."


Clinton said individual countries should target aid at specific areas.


"Maybe what we should do is get countries or groups of countries to take responsibility for specific countries that were hurt," he said.


"I think if you did that you would have a better chance of seeing responsibilities fulfilled even when the emotional tug wanes."

Meanwhile, here's the current president:
Although U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland yesterday withdrew his earlier comment, domestic criticism of Bush continued to rise. Skeptics said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public absence, Bush late yesterday afternoon announced plans to hold a National Security Council meeting by teleconference to discuss several issues, including the tsunami, followed by a short public statement ... Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The world will love us more.

Posted by Eric at 06:17 AM | Comments (10)

November 02, 2004

Iran for Bush

Don't you forget it:

The head of the Iranian security council said President Bush's re-election would be in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's calling Iran part of an axis of evil, accusations that Iran harbors Al Qaeda members and threats of sanctions over nuclear ambitions. Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than have Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council. [AP, 10/20/04]

"We should not forget that during Bush's era despite his hard-line and baseless rhetoric he didn't take, in practical terms, any dangerous action against Iran," Mr. Rowhani said. [Washington Times, 10/28/04]

Posted by Eric at 12:10 AM | Comments (115)

October 31, 2004

Powell on Iraq

From Newsweek:

Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, NEWSWEEK has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. "Things are getting really bad," a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told NEWSWEEK last week. "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness."

Posted by Eric at 09:22 PM | Comments (60)

October 29, 2004

It's Not Just Al Qaqaa

Let us now forget the other blunders from the Bush administration when it comes to national security; Krugman:

Letting Osama get away Just before the story about Al Qaqaa broke, the Bush-Cheney campaign was frantically trying to debunk John Kerry's statement that Mr. Bush let Osama bin Laden get away when he was cornered at Tora Bora. That getaway, Mr. Kerry asserts, was possible because the administration "outsourced" the job of closing off escape routes to local Afghan warlords.

In response, Gen. Tommy Franks claimed that we don't know that Osama was at Tora Bora, and, anyway, we didn't outsource the work of catching him. Dick Cheney called Mr. Kerry's claims "absolute garbage." But multiple reports from 2001 and early 2002 confirm Mr. Kerry's version. As Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert, writes, Mr. Kerry's charge is "an accurate reflection of the historical record."

Letting Zarqawi get away On Monday The Wall Street Journal confirmed an earlier report that in 2002 the military drew up plans for a strike on the base of the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an area of Iraq not under Saddam's control. But civilian officials vetoed the attack - probably because they thought it might undermine political support for the war against Saddam. So Mr. Zarqawi, like Osama, was given the chance to kill another day.

The situation in Iraq Dick Cheney is telling supporters that Iraq is a "remarkable success story." But the news from Iraq just keeps getting worse. After 49 Iraqi National Guard recruits were killed, execution style, even Ayad Allawi, the Iraqi prime minister - who usually acts as a de facto spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign - accused coalition forces of "gross negligence." It's now clear that the insurgency is much larger than U.S. officials initially acknowledged, and that Iraqi security forces have been heavily infiltrated.

$70 billion more Earlier this week The Washington Post reported that administration officials were planning to seek an additional $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan after the election. Whatever the precise number, it has long been obvious to knowledgeable observers that this was coming, but the news will come as a shock to many people who still don't realize how deep a quagmire Mr. Bush has gotten us into.

Posted by Eric at 09:01 PM | Comments (24)

"game, set, and match"

David Kay on the explosives story with NewsNight and Aaron Brown:

AB: I don't know how better to do this than to show you some pictures have you explain to me what they are or are not. Okay? First what I’ll just call the seal. And tell me if this is an IAEA seal on that bunker at that munitions dump?

DK: Aaron, about as certain as I can be looking at a picture, not physically holding it which, obviously, I would have preferred to have been there, that is an IAEA seal. I've never seen anything else in Iraq in about 15 years of being in Iraq and around Iraq that was other than an IAEA seal of that shape.

AB: Was there anything else at the facility that would have been under IAEA seal?

DK: Absolutely nothing. It was the HMX, RDX, the two high explosives.

AB: OK now, I’ll take a look at barrels here for a second. You can tell me what they tell you. They, obviously, to us just show us a bunch of barrels. You'll see it somewhat differently.

DK: Well, it's interesting. There were three foreign suppliers to Iraq of this explosive in the 1980s. One of them used barrels like this, and inside the barrels a bag. HMX is in powder form because you actually use it to shape a spherical lens that is used to create the triggering device for nuclear weapons. And particularly on the videotape, which is actually better than the still photos, as the soldier dips into it, that's either HMX or RDX. I don't know of anything else in al Qaqaa that was in that form.

AB: Let me ask you then, David, the question I asked Jamie. In regard to the dispute about whether that stuff was there when the Americans arrived, is it game, set, match? Is that part of the argument now over?

DK: Well, at least with regard to this one bunker, and the film shows one seal, one bunker, one group of soldiers going through, and there were others there that were sealed. With this one, I think it is game, set, and match. There was HMX, RDX in there. The seal was broken. And quite frankly, to me the most frightening thing is not only was the seal broken, lock broken, but the soldiers left after opening it up. I mean, to rephrase the so-called pottery barn rule. If you open an arms bunker, you own it. You have to provide security.

AB: I'm -- that raises a number of questions. Let me throw out one. It suggests that maybe they just didn't know what they had?

DK: I think you're quite likely they didn't know they had HMX, which speaks to lack of intelligence given troops moving through that area, but they certainly knew they had explosives. And to put this in context, I think it's important, this loss of 360 tons, but Iraq is awash with tens of thousands of tons of explosives right now in the hands of insurgents because we did not provide the security when we took over the country.

AB: Could you -- I’m trying to stay out of the realm of politics. I'm not sure you can.

DK: So am I.

AB: I know. It's a little tricky here. But, is there any -- is there any reason not to have anticipated the fact that there would be bunkers like this, explosives like this, and a need to secure them?

DK: Absolutely not. For example, al Qaqaa was a site of Gerald Bull's super gun project. It was a team of mine that discovered the HMX originally in 1991. That was one of the most well-documented explosive sites in all of Iraq. The other 80 or so major ammunition storage points were also well documented. Iraq had, and it's a frightening number, two-thirds of the total conventional explosives that the US has in its entire inventory. The country was an armed camp.

Posted by Eric at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)

October 28, 2004

They Were There

Damn, those things called facts are really a nuisance, huh?

A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The tape, broadcast on Wednesday night by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of Iraq.

The question of whether the material was removed by Mr. Hussein's forces in the days before the invasion, or looted later because it was unguarded, has become a heated dispute on the campaign trail, with Senator John Kerry accusing President Bush of incompetence, and Mr. Bush saying it is unclear when the material disappeared and rejecting what he calls Mr. Kerry's "wild charges."

Posted by Eric at 11:03 PM | Comments (6)

Scientists estimate 100,000 Iraqis may have died in war

Winning the hearts and minds ...

Posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (8)

October 26, 2004

Bush Foreign Policy Hurting Overseas Companies

GMI World Poll:

American corporations are in danger of suffering a major shift in purchasing habits as nearly 20% of foreign consumers say they’ll avoid select U.S. products due to America’s position on foreign affairs, according to the latest poll by independent global market research company GMI, Inc. (http://www.worldpoll.com).


The GMI World Poll reveals that people in China, Japan, Germany and other industrialized Western nations are less willing today to purchase American brands — notably Starbucks, Marlboro and Mattel — or fly American-based airlines than before the Iraqi invasion and the United States’ unilateral foreign policies. More than half of those surveyed cite an increasingly negative perception of the U.S., while 67% believe U.S. foreign policy is guided by “self interests” and “empire building.”


“GMI’s World Poll clearly indicates the rest of the world views America’s intervention in Iraq as arrogant and selfish,” said Princeton University Professor Douglas S. Massey with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “Because of their anger and frustration, they are consciously considering changing their buying habits,” continued Massey. He added that continued unilateral action on the part of the U.S. will not only “isolate it politically, but economically as well, depressing worldwide demand for American products and services.”

Posted by Eric at 12:39 PM | Comments (41)

October 20, 2004

The No Casualty War

From CNN:

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Posted by Eric at 02:34 PM | Comments (21)

October 19, 2004

Two Soldiers Killed in Iraq

"I say a hell of a lot of prayers before getting into the aircraft, and after getting down. It is not the fear of death that weighs me down, it is the feeling of not being there for my three girls. There is a very real chance that something bad could happen and they would never know me." William Brennan, one of two soldiers killed in an Iraq air collision over the weekend.

Posted by Eric at 01:39 PM | Comments (32)

October 17, 2004

Knight Ridder: Bush Admin No Post-War Plan

See my post over at Franken blog

If the Bush administration had listened to this guy, instead of screwing him over ...

Posted by Eric at 08:33 PM | Comments (58)

October 15, 2004

World Loves US

Love ... to hate. He he he ... ho. Guardian:

George Bush has squandered a wealth of sympathy around the world towards America since September 11 with public opinion in 10 leading countries - including some of its closest allies - growing more hostile to the United States while he has been in office.
According to a survey, voters in eight out of the 10 countries, including Britain, want to see the Democrat challenger, John Kerry, defeat President Bush in next month's US presidential election.

The poll, conducted by 10 of the world's leading newspapers, including France's Le Monde, Japan's Asahi Shimbun, Canada's La Presse, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Guardian, also shows that on balance world opinion does not believe that the war in Iraq has made a positive contribution to the fight against terror.

The results show that in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Spain and South Korea a majority of voters share a rejection of the Iraq invasion, contempt for the Bush administration, a growing hostility to the US and a not-too-strong endorsement of Mr Kerry. But they all make a clear distinction between this kind of anti-Americanism and expressing a dislike of American people. On average 68% of those polled say they have a favourable opinion of Americans.

The 10-country poll suggests that rarely has an American administration faced such isolation and lack of public support amongst its closest allies.

Posted by Eric at 11:17 AM | Comments (31)

October 13, 2004

Germany: Err, Maybe?

But what, what, what would need to change ... Financial Times:

Germany might deploy troops in Iraq if conditions there change, Peter Struck, the German defence minister, indicated on Tuesday in a gesture that appears to provide backing for John Kerry, the US Democratic presidential challenger.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Struck departed from his government’s resolve not to send troops to Iraq under any circumstances, saying: “At present I rule out the deployment of German troops in Iraq. In general, however, there is no one who can predict developments in Iraq in such a way that he could make a such a binding statement [about the future].”

Mr Struck also welcomed Mr Kerry’s proposal that he would convene an international conference on Iraq including countries that opposed the war if he were to win next month's election.

Germany would certainly attend, Mr Struck said. “This is a very sensible proposal. The situation in Iraq can only be cleared up when all those involved sit together at one table. Germany has taken on responsibilities in Iraq, including financial ones; this would naturally justify our involvement in such a conference.”

But what's the point when we've got Poland?

Posted by Eric at 07:02 PM | Comments (164)

4 Soldiers Killed in Iraq

AP: "Separate roadside bomb attacks killed four American soldiers in Baghdad, as American troops and Iraqi soldiers stepped up pressure on Sunni insurgents before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this week."

Meanwhile, Media Matters notes that the media is largely ignoring the Bush administration's plans "to delay major Iraq combat until after presidential election."

Posted by Eric at 08:33 AM | Comments (43)

October 12, 2004

"A Mother’s Plea for Peace"

Barbara Porchia, in Intervention Mag; "Barbara Porchia’s son, Jonathan, died in Iraq outside Baghdad in July 2003":

We clearly invaded a country for all the wrong reasons, and we are clearly no longer looked upon as liberators but as occupiers. Those beautiful flowers that were supposed to be thrown at our soldiers’ feet have turned out to be exploding bombs. If we had invaded Iraq for all the right reasons, then bombs would not be killing our brave soldiers.

We were given incorrect information about this war, and we have lost way too many loved ones in a war based upon lies. We cannot allow the death toll of our dear soldiers to reach 2000, our injured to reach 10,000. We cannot allow any more families to be destroyed as they receive news that their loved ones have joined “heaven's military.”

This is not about Republican versus Democrat; it is about right verses wrong. As a great nation, we must remember: united we stand, divided we fall. Let us unite to bring our soldiers home ... I love our troops. I stand behind our troops. I will continue to fight for our troops. I want to bring home our troops. I plead that we work together to bring our soldiers home.

I’m going to ask you to do something. Take your child, or any child that you love, or your spouse, and give that loved one a big hug. When doing this, think of your feelings for that child, your love for your spouse; hold these feelings and then ask yourself if you are willing to lose that child or your spouse in this senseless war?

Please, America, let’s stop losing our loved ones in Iraq. Those lost have families who cared for them tremendously, who today are pained terribly. I loved my son, and my heart aches every day. Please do not allow this tragedy to happen to you and your child.

Also see US Tour of Duty: Americans Speak Out: "Why Did My Son Die? A Military Mom Demands an Answer."

Posted by Eric at 07:25 AM | Comments (47)

October 11, 2004

What Are Soldiers Fighting For?

From Mother Jones, in a profile on soldiers and some who are fighting against war:

When Hoffman arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, his unit’s highest-ranking enlisted man laid out the mission in stark terms. “You’re not going to make Iraq safe for democracy,” the sergeant said. “You are going for one reason alone: oil. But you’re still going to go, because you signed a contract. And you’re going to go to bring your friends home.” Hoffman, who had his own doubts about the war, was relieved—he’d never expected to hear such a candid assessment from a superior. But it was only when he had been in Iraq for several months that the full meaning of the sergeant’s words began to sink in.

“The reasons for war were wrong,” he says. “They were lies. There were no WMDs. Al Qaeda was not there. And it was evident we couldn’t force democracy on people by force of arms.”

Condi Rice might be helpful: she's offered at least 24 rationales for war.

Posted by Eric at 09:43 AM | Comments (36)

October 10, 2004

Iraq

WP: "For Marines, a Frustrating Fight."

"Sometimes I see no reason why we're here," Perez said. "First of all, you cannot engage as many times as we want to. Second of all, we're looking for an enemy that's not there. The only way to do it is go house to house until we get out of here."

Perez is hardly alone. In a dozen interviews, Marines from a platoon known as the "81s" expressed in blunt terms their frustrations with the way the war is being conducted and, in some cases, doubts about why it is being waged. The platoon, named for the size in millimeters of its mortar rounds, is part of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment based in Iskandariyah, 30 miles southwest of Baghdad.

Then AP: Two Car Bombs Kill 10 Iraqis in Baghdad ... "The dead included three police academy students and a female officer."

Posted by Eric at 06:27 AM | Comments (28)

October 05, 2004

What About Poland?

From the IHT, "Poland said Monday that it would withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of 2005, leaving the U.S.-led multinational forces the task of finding replacements to fill a crucial security role in south-central Iraq."

Posted by Eric at 07:16 AM | Comments (35)

Bremer: Mistakes Were Made

Uh oh; Washington Post:

The former U.S. official who governed Iraq after the invasion said yesterday that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, administrator for the U.S.-led occupation government until the handover of political power on June 28, said he still supports the decision to intervene in Iraq but said a lack of adequate forces hampered the occupation and efforts to end the looting early on.

"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," he said yesterday in a speech at an insurance conference in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. "We never had enough troops on the ground."

Bremer's comments were striking because they echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion. Bremer has generally defended the U.S. approach in Iraq but in recent weeks has begun to criticize the administration for tactical and policy shortfalls.

Posted by Eric at 01:32 AM | Comments (71)

October 02, 2004

Vatican to US: Iraq War Can Suckit

Says world no safer after the Iraq invasion:

The war in Iraq has left neither Iraq nor the world a safer place, the Vatican said on Wednesday, disputing a key claim of President George W. Bush a little over a month before the Nov. 2 U.S. election.

"Everyone can see that it did not lead to a safer world, either inside or outside Iraq," Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, told the U.N. General Assembly.

"The Holy See believes it is now imperative to support the present government in its efforts to bring the country to normality and to a political system that is substantially democratic and in harmony with the values of its historic traditions," Lajolo said.

Posted by Eric at 06:23 AM | Comments (111)

October 01, 2004

While Bush Lies, People Die

No description needed:

Three bombs exploded at a neighborhood celebration Thursday in western Baghdad, killing 35 children and seven adults, officials said. Hours earlier, a suicide car bomb killed a U.S. soldier and two Iraqis on the capital's outskirts.

The bombs in Baghdad's al-Amel neighborhood caused the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict in Iraq (news - web sites) began 17 months ago. The children, who were still on school vacation, said they had been drawn to the scene by American soldiers handing out candy.

The blasts — at least two of which were car bombs — went off in swift succession about 1 p.m., killing 42 people and wounding 141 others, including 10 U.S. soldiers. The bombs targeted a ceremony in which residents were celebrating the opening of a new sewage system, and a U.S. convoy was passing by at the same time, said Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman.

"The Americans called us, they told us, 'Come here, come here,' asking us if we wanted sweets. We went beside them, then a car exploded," said 12-year-old Abdel Rahman Dawoud, lying naked in a hospital bed with shrapnel embedded all over his body.

Posted by Eric at 09:24 AM | Comments (114)

The WSJ Friends Letter on Iraq

This has been kicked around a bit, but it's worth another kick. The Wall Street Journal’s Baghdad correspondent, Farnaz Fassihi, sent out an email to friends. Here's a clip:

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them ... America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.

As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here.

Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for
insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad.

Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about
elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."

Posted by Eric at 06:23 AM | Comments (29)

September 28, 2004

Blair Offers Semi-Apology

From Reuters:

Tony Blair offered his Labour party on Tuesday a partial apology for waging war in Iraq -- a desperate attempt to pull supporters back behind him ahead of an election next year.

But as two more British soldiers died in Iraq and a hostage remained under threat of death, his hopes of drawing a line under two years that has wrecked his public trust ratings are far from secure.

"The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons ... has turned out to be wrong," Blair said, his nearest yet to a mea culpa.

"The problem is, I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam," he said. "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power."

Blair's speech was interrupted twice by protesters, one yelling that the premier "had blood on his hands," others opposing a planned ban on fox-hunting.

Posted by Eric at 12:01 PM | Comments (44)

September 22, 2004

Toll Up to 1,036

AP: US soldier killed by roadside bomb in northern Iraq

Posted by Eric at 07:43 AM | Comments (24)

September 19, 2004

Reuters: Republicans Criticize Bush 'Mistakes' on Iraq

From Reuters, Republican on Republican action:

Leading members of President Bush's Republican Party on Sunday criticized mistakes and "incompetence" in his Iraq policy and called for an urgent ground offensive to retake insurgent sanctuaries.

In appearances on news talk shows, Republican senators also urged Bush to be more open with the American public after the disclosure of a classified CIA report that gave a gloomy outlook for Iraq and raised the possibility of civil war.

"The fact is, we're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy," Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"We made serious mistakes," said Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has campaigned at Bush's side this year after patching up a bitter rivalry.

McCain, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," cited as mistakes the toleration of looting after the successful U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and failures to secure Iraq's borders or prevent insurgents from establishing strongholds within the country.

Posted by Eric at 07:40 PM | Comments (44)

September 16, 2004

UPI: "Press Reports on US Casualties About 17,000 Short"

UPI: "Nearly 17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited by newspapers."

Posted by Eric at 02:32 PM | Comments (53)

Annan: War Illegal

Says breached UN charter. But what would he know about the UN? Guardian:

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.

Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: "Yes, if you wish."

He then added unequivocally: "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal."

Mr Annan has until now kept a tactful silence and his intervention at this point undermines the argument pushed by Tony Blair that the war was legitimized by security council resolutions.

Mr Annan also questioned whether it will be feasible on security grounds to go ahead with the first planned election in Iraq scheduled for January. "You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now," he said.

Posted by Eric at 09:52 AM | Comments (132)

September 15, 2004

Bush AIDS Plan Reaches 1.25% of Treatment Goal

Not exactly a success, notes Global AIDS Alliance:

Global AIDS Alliance reacted today to the statement of the Bush Administration regarding its global AIDS programs. The Administration says it is providing AIDS treatment to 25,000 people through its own programs as well as its contributions to other AIDS programs. This figure represents 1.25% of the goal the Administration announced in January 2003, which was to deliver treatment to 2 million people by 2008. The Bush plan is using expensive, brand name drugs, rather than keeping its promise to use the lowest cost drugs available. The President's promised "expedited" approval process has yet to review a single generic drug for use in the US program.

"It's disappointing that a year and a half after declaring AIDS a global emergency, we are still just 1.25% towards the treatment goal that had been announced," stated Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of Global AIDS Alliance. "If the Administration had not rejected emergency funding of its initiative last year we would certainly be further along." The US Congress, in its AIDS authorization bill passed last year, set a goal of 500,000 people on treatment by September 30, 2004. The Administration's performance represents 5% of what Congress had called for at this stage.

Meanwhile, the Administration has undermined the progress of the Global Fund, a multilateral effort delivering resources for AIDS medication to a much broader list of countries. The President has proposed cutting the US contribution to the Fund for 2005 by 64% and done little to convince close allies like Japan and South Korea to give their fair share. The Administration's Global AIDS Coordinator recently said the Fund already had "adequate resources on hand," even though the Fund is so short of available resources that it will likely not be able to issue new grants until 2007. At its November meeting the Fund is expected to cancel the additional grantmaking that had been planned for next year.

There's something else?
The President has also taken steps to curtail competition from low-cost generic medications, even though they are successfully used around the world. Strong-arm tactics by the Administration have already resulted in agreementsby many Latin American countries, as well as Morocco and Singapore, to block generics. Thailand, an innovator in the production of AIDS medication, is now under severe pressure to follow suit.
Kerry, on the other hand ...

Posted by Eric at 09:09 AM | Comments (43)

September 13, 2004

Powell: Unlikely WMD Stocks Will Be Found in Iraq

Reuters.

Posted by Eric at 08:18 PM | Comments (6)

September 08, 2004

Soldier Deaths in Iraq Pass 1,000

AP.

Posted by Eric at 01:41 AM | Comments (16)

September 07, 2004

Army to Rebid Halliburton Contract

From the WSJ (sub required, full article in extended):

The U.S. Army plans to move within months to break up the multibillion-dollar logistics contract that Halliburton Co. has to feed, house and look after U.S. troops in Iraq, and to put out the work for competitive bid.

The move, laid out in an internal Army memorandum, comes after more than a year in which Halliburton's work in Iraq under the contract has been plagued by accounting turmoil and accusations of overcharging. The contract, which the memo values at as much as $13 billion, has been used since early last year to provide massive support services for U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait, including housing, dining halls, transportation and laundry.

U.S. Defense Department officials said the intention to rebid the contract wasn't meant to penalize Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit that handles the work, so much as to find greater efficiencies by parceling the work out to a wider range of companies.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the move was expected and had occurred in a previous contract with the Pentagon. She said KBR would consider bidding for parts of the work.

Army to Rebid Halliburton Contract

Military Plans to Break Up
Iraq Logistics Operations
Into at Least Six Pacts

By NEIL KING JR. in Washington and RUSSELL GOLD in Dallas
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
September 7, 2004; Page A3

The U.S. Army plans to move within months to break up the multibillion-dollar logistics contract that Halliburton Co. has to feed, house and look after U.S. troops in Iraq, and to put out the work for competitive bid.

The move, laid out in an internal Army memorandum, comes after more than a year in which Halliburton's work in Iraq under the contract has been plagued by accounting turmoil and accusations of overcharging. The contract, which the memo values at as much as $13 billion, has been used since early last year to provide massive support services for U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait, including housing, dining halls, transportation and laundry.

U.S. Defense Department officials said the intention to rebid the contract wasn't meant to penalize Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit that handles the work, so much as to find greater efficiencies by parceling the work out to a wider range of companies.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the move was expected and had occurred in a previous contract with the Pentagon. She said KBR would consider bidding for parts of the work.

In the memo, dated Aug. 25, the Army's chief of procurement policy, Tina Ballard, directed top officials within the U.S. Army Field Support Command "to immediately begin the transition to competitively awarded sustainment contracts for support of U.S. military forces in Iraq."

The memo also addresses the Army's increasing frustration with efforts to devise a final estimated cost of the work. One option being considered is for the Army to forgo efforts to negotiate contract costs with KBR. The Army then could take unilateral action and come up with estimated costs on its own.

If the Army pursues such a move, it could make it more difficult for KBR to stay within estimated costs, which would make it harder to qualify for its 2% bonus. This could have significant financial implications, said Halliburton's Ms. Hall, because "the award fee is where you make your money."

Still, she said, the company viewed the Army's decision "as positive and will help to resolve outstanding issues." She also said the contract has provisions to allow KBR to dispute the Army's final estimates.

The contract has been taxing on the company, eating up capital while its KBR unit is in bankruptcy proceedings. Through the end of June, the Houston company had spent $1.1 billion on the logistics contract and other, smaller contracts that it was expecting the government to reimburse.

Pentagon auditors said in a report last month that KBR hadn't provided satisfactory details to back up more than $1.8 billion of work in Iraq and Kuwait. The Army still is debating whether to begin withholding payment on 15% of all billings until KBR is able to resolve the accounting backlog.

Pentagon officials have discussed for months when the Army should revisit KBR's main Iraq contract. Under the contract, KBR is meant to serve as an all-purpose, quick-fix contractor to fill the military's needs -- everything from running dining halls to providing air-conditioned tents in the desert filled with weight-lifting equipment for the troops. The company is then reimbursed for its expenses, plus a profit margin of 1% and a possible 2% bonus.

After a wartime surge in work, the Army is supposed to shift to a more permanent footing by putting the work out to competitive bid.

A Pentagon official said the intention in Iraq is to break up the work into six or more smaller contracts, ranging from food services to transportation, and to complete the bidding process by year end. The exact timing, the official said, would be left up to Central Command, which is in charge of military operations in Iraq.

Halliburton's ties to the Bush administration -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was the company's chief executive from 1995 until 2000 -- have made it a lightning rod for criticism by Democrats.

The company and its subcontractors have mobilized more than 30,000 employees and lost 45 of them to attacks in Iraq, according to a company spokeswoman. Amid disputes over billing, it also faces several possibilities where the Army may demand reimbursement for large sums it already has paid to KBR. That could erase the company's already thin profit margin in Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 10:22 AM | Comments (28)

September 06, 2004

Seven U.S. Marines Killed in Iraq Blast

Least we forget: Reuters.

Posted by Eric at 12:11 PM | Comments (31)

The Price of Bush's War

1,100 wounded.

Posted by Eric at 02:07 AM | Comments (32)

September 05, 2004

Down Goes Schroeder

AP: "German voters handed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a stinging defeat in elections Sunday in the small western state of Saarland, reflecting public anger over his drive to cut into the country's cherished network of social programs."

Posted by Eric at 01:47 PM | Comments (39)

August 26, 2004

MPs Want to Impeach Blair

About, what else, the Iraqi war:

The cross-party group say they have rock-solid academic backing for their attempt to invoke an ancient mechanism that could unseat the Prime Minister.

This latest assault on Mr Blair’s integrity is being led by the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalists together with a Conservative MP, but it is expected that other Tories and Liberal Democrats will sign up along with disaffected Labour backbenchers.

The power of impeachment has not been used in Britain for 150 years, but it remains on the statute book despite an attempt to erase it in 1999.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader at Westminster and the favourite to succeed John Swinney as overall Nationalist leader, will spearhead the campaign, along with Tory MP Boris Johnson and Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, at its public launch in London today.

Posted by Eric at 03:56 AM | Comments (58)

August 09, 2004

This Just In: "Tourism is a hard sell in lawless Iraq"

I have no idea why.

Posted by Eric at 08:37 AM | Comments (9)

This Just In: "Tourism is a hard sell in lawless Iraq"

I have no idea why.

Posted by Eric at 08:37 AM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2004

Iraqi General Assassinated

From AP:

Gunmen assassinated a senior member of Iraq (news - web sites)'s fledgling armed forces as he traveled to Friday prayers in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

Brigadier General Salim Blaish and one of his neighbors who was traveling with him were killed by gunmen in a drive-by shooting.

Guerrillas in Iraq have repeatedly targeted senior officials and members of Iraq's police and armed forces.

Posted by Eric at 08:23 AM | Comments (10)

Iraqi General Assassinated

From AP:

Gunmen assassinated a senior member of Iraq (news - web sites)'s fledgling armed forces as he traveled to Friday prayers in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

Brigadier General Salim Blaish and one of his neighbors who was traveling with him were killed by gunmen in a drive-by shooting.

Guerrillas in Iraq have repeatedly targeted senior officials and members of Iraq's police and armed forces.

Posted by Eric at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Less-Traveled Powell

From WPost:

Powell is on track to become the least traveled secretary of state in more than three decades, since Henry A. Kissinger embodied the concept of the globe-trotting foreign policy guru, according to records maintained by the State Department's historian. Powell's three immediate predecessors, the records show, traveled an average of more than 45 percent more than he has ...

Indeed, Powell's schedule puts him just slightly ahead of William P. Rogers, secretary of state from 1969 to 1973, who was largely overshadowed by Kissinger, then the national security adviser to President Richard M. Nixon. Powell is significantly behind George P. Shultz, Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, and would need to travel 45 more days in the next six months to catch up with Shultz's 225 days of travel over four years.

Some leading foreign policy specialists -- and even some State Department officials -- have wondered whether Powell's travel schedule has in some ways contributed to the United States' falling image abroad. They argue that behind-the-scenes actions, such as telephone calls, carry much less impact overseas in an era when public diplomacy is increasingly important in advancing foreign policy goals.

But that's OK: "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell hates to fly."

Posted by Eric at 01:04 AM | Comments (18)

Less-Traveled Powell

From WPost:

Powell is on track to become the least traveled secretary of state in more than three decades, since Henry A. Kissinger embodied the concept of the globe-trotting foreign policy guru, according to records maintained by the State Department's historian. Powell's three immediate predecessors, the records show, traveled an average of more than 45 percent more than he has ...

Indeed, Powell's schedule puts him just slightly ahead of William P. Rogers, secretary of state from 1969 to 1973, who was largely overshadowed by Kissinger, then the national security adviser to President Richard M. Nixon. Powell is significantly behind George P. Shultz, Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, and would need to travel 45 more days in the next six months to catch up with Shultz's 225 days of travel over four years.

Some leading foreign policy specialists -- and even some State Department officials -- have wondered whether Powell's travel schedule has in some ways contributed to the United States' falling image abroad. They argue that behind-the-scenes actions, such as telephone calls, carry much less impact overseas in an era when public diplomacy is increasingly important in advancing foreign policy goals.

But that's OK: "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell hates to fly."

Posted by Eric at 01:04 AM | Comments (2)

July 02, 2004

Powell: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

He said: Assume hes innocent if you will, and lets assume that, and let the Iraqi people through their courts decide, Powell said in an interview with Indonesian television channel RCTI on the sidelines of an Asian security meeting in Jakarta.

Posted by Eric at 05:18 PM | Comments (46)

Powell: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

He said: Assume hes innocent if you will, and lets assume that, and let the Iraqi people through their courts decide, Powell said in an interview with Indonesian television channel RCTI on the sidelines of an Asian security meeting in Jakarta.

Posted by Eric at 05:18 PM | Comments (3)

June 30, 2004

GAO: Iraq Worse Off Now Than Before War Began

The non-partisan General Accounting Office released a report Tuesday. Among the findings:

-In 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces, electricity was available fewer hours per day on average last month than before the war. Nearly 20 million of Iraq's 26 million people live in those provinces.

-Only $13.7 billion of the $58 billion pledged and allocated worldwide to rebuild Iraq has been spent, with another $10 billion about to be spent. The biggest chunk of that money has been used to run Iraq's ministry operations.

-The country's court system is more clogged than before the war, and judges are frequent targets of assassination attempts.

-The new Iraqi civil defense, police and overall security units are suffering from mass desertions, are poorly trained and ill-equipped.

-The number of what the now-disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority called significant insurgent attacks skyrocketed from 411 in February to 1,169 in May.

Posted by Eric at 06:54 AM | Comments (18)

GAO: Iraq Worse Off Now Than Before War Began

The non-partisan General Accounting Office released a report Tuesday. Among the findings:

-In 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces, electricity was available fewer hours per day on average last month than before the war. Nearly 20 million of Iraq's 26 million people live in those provinces.

-Only $13.7 billion of the $58 billion pledged and allocated worldwide to rebuild Iraq has been spent, with another $10 billion about to be spent. The biggest chunk of that money has been used to run Iraq's ministry operations.

-The country's court system is more clogged than before the war, and judges are frequent targets of assassination attempts.

-The new Iraqi civil defense, police and overall security units are suffering from mass desertions, are poorly trained and ill-equipped.

-The number of what the now-disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority called significant insurgent attacks skyrocketed from 411 in February to 1,169 in May.

Posted by Eric at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004

80% of Iraqis Want US to Stop Patrolling Cities

According to the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies.

Posted by Eric at 04:38 PM | Comments (4)

80% of Iraqis Want US to Stop Patrolling Cities

According to the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies.

Posted by Eric at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

More Iraqi Follies

Hyuk hyuk, "Billions of dollars belonging to Iraq is not accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority." AP:

There are glaring gaps in the handling of $20 billion generated by Iraq's oil and other sources since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein ended last year, according to reports from the Liberal Democrats, Britain's third-largest political party, and Christian Aid.

The Christian Aid report also said the majority of Iraq's reconstruction projects have been awarded to U.S. companies, which charge up to 10 times more than Iraqi firms.

There was no immediate reaction from coalition officials to the reports.

Posted by Eric at 04:48 AM | Comments (22)

More Iraqi Follies

Hyuk hyuk, "Billions of dollars belonging to Iraq is not accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority." AP:

There are glaring gaps in the handling of $20 billion generated by Iraq's oil and other sources since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein ended last year, according to reports from the Liberal Democrats, Britain's third-largest political party, and Christian Aid.

The Christian Aid report also said the majority of Iraq's reconstruction projects have been awarded to U.S. companies, which charge up to 10 times more than Iraqi firms.

There was no immediate reaction from coalition officials to the reports.

Posted by Eric at 04:48 AM | Comments (2)

June 27, 2004

New Anti-American Forces: Iraqi Police

Some Iraqi police officers, who were once trained by US troops, are now fighting the Americans who trained them. UK Telegraph:

First Lt Omar is sworn to uphold the law and fight the insurgency that threatens Iraq's evolution into a free and democratic state. Instead, he is exploiting his knowledge of US tactics to help the rebel cause in Fallujah.

"Resistance is stronger when you are working with the occupation forces," he points out. "That way you can learn their weaknesses and attack at that point."

An Iraqi journalist went into Fallujah on behalf of the Telegraph on Wednesday, a day on which an orchestrated wave of bloody rebel attacks across the country cost more than 100 lives.

Inside the Sunni-dominated town, he met police officers and units of the country's new army who have formed a united front with Muslim fundamentalists against the Americans, their resistance focused on al-Askeri district on the eastern outskirts of the town.

Posted by Eric at 07:40 AM | Comments (115)

New Anti-American Forces: Iraqi Police

Some Iraqi police officers, who were once trained by US troops, are now fighting the Americans who trained them. UK Telegraph:

First Lt Omar is sworn to uphold the law and fight the insurgency that threatens Iraq's evolution into a free and democratic state. Instead, he is exploiting his knowledge of US tactics to help the rebel cause in Fallujah.

"Resistance is stronger when you are working with the occupation forces," he points out. "That way you can learn their weaknesses and attack at that point."

An Iraqi journalist went into Fallujah on behalf of the Telegraph on Wednesday, a day on which an orchestrated wave of bloody rebel attacks across the country cost more than 100 lives.

Inside the Sunni-dominated town, he met police officers and units of the country's new army who have formed a united front with Muslim fundamentalists against the Americans, their resistance focused on al-Askeri district on the eastern outskirts of the town.

Posted by Eric at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Senior Intel Officer: Al Qaeda Will Attack US to Ensure Bush Victory

This was in The Guardian over the weekend, but it deserves a bump:

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.
Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them ... Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

Just a single example? Err ...
Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."

The book on Amazon.com.

Posted by Eric at 02:47 AM | Comments (26)

Senior Intel Officer: Al Qaeda Will Attack US to Ensure Bush Victory

This was in The Guardian over the weekend, but it deserves a bump:

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.
Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them ... Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

Just a single example? Err ...
Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."

The book on Amazon.com.

Posted by Eric at 02:47 AM | Comments (3)

June 16, 2004

Iraqi Poll: Strong Anti-American Sentiment

From the AP:

A poll of Iraqis commissioned by the U.S.-governing authority has provided the Bush administration a stark picture of anti-American sentiment more than half of Iraqis believe they would be safer if U.S. troops simply left.

The poll, commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority last month but not released to the American public, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in popularity, 92 percent of Iraqis consider the United States an occupying force and more than half believe all Americans behave like those portrayed in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of a multimedia presentation about the poll that was shown to U.S. officials involved in developing Iraq policy. Several officials said in interviews the results reinforced feelings that the transfer of power and security responsibilities to the Iraqis can't come too soon.

''If you are sitting here as part of the coalition, it (the poll) is pretty grim,'' said Donald Hamilton, a career foreign service officer who is working for Ambassador Paul Bremer's interim government and helps oversee the CPA's polling of Iraqis.

Winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis.

Posted by Eric at 01:11 AM | Comments (39)

Iraqi Poll: Strong Anti-American Sentiment

From the AP:

A poll of Iraqis commissioned by the U.S.-governing authority has provided the Bush administration a stark picture of anti-American sentiment more than half of Iraqis believe they would be safer if U.S. troops simply left.

The poll, commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority last month but not released to the American public, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in popularity, 92 percent of Iraqis consider the United States an occupying force and more than half believe all Americans behave like those portrayed in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of a multimedia presentation about the poll that was shown to U.S. officials involved in developing Iraq policy. Several officials said in interviews the results reinforced feelings that the transfer of power and security responsibilities to the Iraqis can't come too soon.

''If you are sitting here as part of the coalition, it (the poll) is pretty grim,'' said Donald Hamilton, a career foreign service officer who is working for Ambassador Paul Bremer's interim government and helps oversee the CPA's polling of Iraqis.

Winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis.

Posted by Eric at 01:11 AM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2004

The World Loves Us

From the Manchester Evening News:

MANCHESTER music legend Morrissey sparked controversy when he announced Ronald Reagan's death live on stage during a concert - and then declared he wished it was George Bush who had died instead.

Thousands of fans at Dublin Castle, in Ireland, cheered when the ex-Smiths frontman made the announcement that the former American president, who had battled with Alzheimer's Disease, had passed away.

And an even bigger cheer followed when Morrissey - who is no stranger to controversy - then said he wished it had been the current President, George W Bush, who had died.

Fan Tony Murray said: "He commented about the death of Ronald Reagan and when he wished that it was George W instead the crowd went wild."

Posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (35)

The World Loves Us

From the Manchester Evening News:

MANCHESTER music legend Morrissey sparked controversy when he announced Ronald Reagan's death live on stage during a concert - and then declared he wished it was George Bush who had died instead.

Thousands of fans at Dublin Castle, in Ireland, cheered when the ex-Smiths frontman made the announcement that the former American president, who had battled with Alzheimer's Disease, had passed away.

And an even bigger cheer followed when Morrissey - who is no stranger to controversy - then said he wished it had been the current President, George W Bush, who had died.

Fan Tony Murray said: "He commented about the death of Ronald Reagan and when he wished that it was George W instead the crowd went wild."

Posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2004

500,000 Protest Bush

In Italy. Can you feel the love?

Posted by Eric at 05:45 PM | Comments (24)

500,000 Protest Bush

In Italy. Can you feel the love?

Posted by Eric at 05:45 PM | Comments (3)

May 30, 2004

Cheney Helped Halliburton in Iraq

Well, we all knew this was happening, but it helps to reinforce the point about corporate corruption in the Bush administration. From Reuters:

A Pentagon e-mail said Vice President Dick Cheney's office "coordinated" a multibillion-dollar Iraq reconstruction contract awarded to his former employer Halliburton, Time magazine reported on Sunday.
The e-mail, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official on March 5, 2003, said Douglas Feith, a senior Pentagon official, provided arrangements for the RIO contract, or Restore Iraqi Oil, between Halliburton and the U.S. government, Time said.

The e-mail said Feith, who reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, approved arrangements for the contract "contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP's (vice president's) office."

A spokesman for Cheney said his office had no role in the contract process. "Vice President Cheney and his office have had no involvement whatsoever in government contracting matters since he left private business to run for vice president," said Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for Cheney.

Still, Cheney has significant ties to Halliburton:
Cheney still receives about $150,000 a year in deferred payments for work he performed as chairman. He also holds more than 433,000 stock options, according to a report last fall by the Congressional Research Office requested by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat.

Posted by Eric at 10:59 PM | Comments (15)

Cheney Helped Halliburton in Iraq

Well, we all knew this was happening, but it helps to reinforce the point about corporate corruption in the Bush administration. From Reuters:

A Pentagon e-mail said Vice President Dick Cheney's office "coordinated" a multibillion-dollar Iraq reconstruction contract awarded to his former employer Halliburton, Time magazine reported on Sunday.
The e-mail, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official on March 5, 2003, said Douglas Feith, a senior Pentagon official, provided arrangements for the RIO contract, or Restore Iraqi Oil, between Halliburton and the U.S. government, Time said.

The e-mail said Feith, who reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, approved arrangements for the contract "contingent on informing WH (White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP's (vice president's) office."

A spokesman for Cheney said his office had no role in the contract process. "Vice President Cheney and his office have had no involvement whatsoever in government contracting matters since he left private business to run for vice president," said Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for Cheney.

Still, Cheney has significant ties to Halliburton:
Cheney still receives about $150,000 a year in deferred payments for work he performed as chairman. He also holds more than 433,000 stock options, according to a report last fall by the Congressional Research Office requested by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat.

Posted by Eric at 10:59 PM | Comments (6)

May 28, 2004

U.S. Iraq Military Deaths Reach 800

From the AP:

As of Thursday, May 27, 800 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq (news - web sites) last year, according to the Defense Department. Of those, 585 died as a result of hostile action and 215 died of non-hostile causes ... Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush (news - web sites) declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 662 U.S. soldiers have died 476 as a result of hostile action and 186 of non-hostile causes, according to the military's numbers.

Posted by Eric at 07:06 AM | Comments (16)

U.S. Iraq Military Deaths Reach 800

From the AP:

As of Thursday, May 27, 800 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq (news - web sites) last year, according to the Defense Department. Of those, 585 died as a result of hostile action and 215 died of non-hostile causes ... Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush (news - web sites) declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 662 U.S. soldiers have died 476 as a result of hostile action and 186 of non-hostile causes, according to the military's numbers.

Posted by Eric at 07:06 AM | Comments (4)

May 26, 2004

3 More Marines Die in Iraq

AP:

Three U.S. Marines were killed in action Wednesday west of the Iraqi capital, the U.S. military said.

A statement from the command said the deaths occurred in Anbar province "while conducting security and stability operations." No further details were released due to security, the statement added.

Anbar province extends from the western suburbs of Baghdad and extends to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It includes such restive insurgency centers as Fallujah, Ramadi and Qaim.

Posted by Eric at 08:37 PM | Comments (1)

3 More Marines Die in Iraq

AP:

Three U.S. Marines were killed in action Wednesday west of the Iraqi capital, the U.S. military said.

A statement from the command said the deaths occurred in Anbar province "while conducting security and stability operations." No further details were released due to security, the statement added.

Anbar province extends from the western suburbs of Baghdad and extends to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It includes such restive insurgency centers as Fallujah, Ramadi and Qaim.

Posted by Eric at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Your Bill for the War: $4,000

According to an estimate from Doug Henwood, as reported by Sean Gonsalves, that's your share:

Henwood pegs the military costs in Iraq to date at about $143 billion, with the tab rising $4 billion to $5 billion a month.

Reconstruction has cost about $20 billion so far, with another $50 billion to $100 billion still needed, Henwood reports.

"If the occupation goes on for three years, which is what the military pundits say is likely, the total bill could come to $362 billion. Add to that an estimated 0.5 percent knocked off GDP growth because of high oil prices, and that's another $50 billion," he says.

Add it all up, and the bill comes to nearly $4,000 per household, not including interest. "I wonder how people would react if they got a bill from Washington for that amount," he said.

Posted by Eric at 02:02 PM | Comments (33)

Your Bill for the War: $4,000

According to an estimate from Doug Henwood, as reported by Sean Gonsalves, that's your share:

Henwood pegs the military costs in Iraq to date at about $143 billion, with the tab rising $4 billion to $5 billion a month.

Reconstruction has cost about $20 billion so far, with another $50 billion to $100 billion still needed, Henwood reports.

"If the occupation goes on for three years, which is what the military pundits say is likely, the total bill could come to $362 billion. Add to that an estimated 0.5 percent knocked off GDP growth because of high oil prices, and that's another $50 billion," he says.

Add it all up, and the bill comes to nearly $4,000 per household, not including interest. "I wonder how people would react if they got a bill from Washington for that amount," he said.

Posted by Eric at 02:02 PM | Comments (9)

Iraq War Taking Down Australian Politician

George W, Tony Blair and Spain's Popular Party aren't the only ones feeling the wrath of voters as a result of the poor situation in Iraq: "A backlash against the US-led Iraq war is damaging Australian Prime Minister John Howard's re-election chances in a ballot expected within months." From Reuters:

Howard, a close US ally who sent 2,000 military personnel to the US-led invasion last March, said his government had been damaged by the negative publicity out of Iraq such as photographs of US troops abusing Iraqi prisoners.

But he said his conservative government's foreign policy would not be influenced by a swing in opinion polls after an ACNielsen poll showed 63 percent of Australians now believed the war in Iraq was unjustified, up from 51 percent in September last year ... Despite a positive response to the government's big-spending budget two weeks ago, an ACNielsen poll published on yesterday found support for Howard's Liberal-National Party coalition had slipped to 39 percent from 42 percent a month ago.

Posted by Eric at 12:55 AM | Comments (7)

Iraq War Taking Down Australian Politician

George W, Tony Blair and Spain's Popular Party aren't the only ones feeling the wrath of voters as a result of the poor situation in Iraq: "A backlash against the US-led Iraq war is damaging Australian Prime Minister John Howard's re-election chances in a ballot expected within months." From Reuters:

Howard, a close US ally who sent 2,000 military personnel to the US-led invasion last March, said his government had been damaged by the negative publicity out of Iraq such as photographs of US troops abusing Iraqi prisoners.

But he said his conservative government's foreign policy would not be influenced by a swing in opinion polls after an ACNielsen poll showed 63 percent of Australians now believed the war in Iraq was unjustified, up from 51 percent in September last year ... Despite a positive response to the government's big-spending budget two weeks ago, an ACNielsen poll published on yesterday found support for Howard's Liberal-National Party coalition had slipped to 39 percent from 42 percent a month ago.

Posted by Eric at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2004

Lies and the Lying Leaders Who Believe Them

Was Washington duped by Iran? And if so, how serious? The Guardian:

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Posted by Eric at 05:36 PM | Comments (6)

Lies and the Lying Leaders Who Believe Them

Was Washington duped by Iran? And if so, how serious? The Guardian:

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Posted by Eric at 05:36 PM | Comments (3)

The Mispronouncing of Abu Ghraib

Aww, isn't he so cute?

Two rehearsals for his prime-time speech were not enough to keep U.S. President George W. Bush from mangling the name of the Abu Ghraib prison that brought shame to the U.S. mission in Iraq.

During the half-hour televised address, Bush mispronounced Abu Ghraib each of the three times he mentioned it while announcing U.S. plans to tear down the infamous jail and replace it with a new facility ... But the Republican president, long known for verbal and grammatical lapses, stumbled on the first try, calling it "abugah-rayp". The second version came out "abu-garon", the third attempt sounded like "abu-garah".

He can't pronounce 'Abu Ghraib.' That means he's just like us, not know-it-all John Kerry.

Posted by Eric at 05:00 PM | Comments (13)

The Mispronouncing of Abu Ghraib

Aww, isn't he so cute?

Two rehearsals for his prime-time speech were not enough to keep U.S. President George W. Bush from mangling the name of the Abu Ghraib prison that brought shame to the U.S. mission in Iraq.

During the half-hour televised address, Bush mispronounced Abu Ghraib each of the three times he mentioned it while announcing U.S. plans to tear down the infamous jail and replace it with a new facility ... But the Republican president, long known for verbal and grammatical lapses, stumbled on the first try, calling it "abugah-rayp". The second version came out "abu-garon", the third attempt sounded like "abu-garah".

He can't pronounce 'Abu Ghraib.' That means he's just like us, not know-it-all John Kerry.

Posted by Eric at 05:00 PM | Comments (10)

May 24, 2004

Another Unpatriotic American

How dare he put the troops in harms way by criticizing the president! *huff huff huff*

Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the nation must prevent terrorism from taking root around the world by "repairing and building alliances," increasing trade, supporting democracy, addressing regional conflicts and controlling weapons of mass destruction.

Unless the country commits itself to such measures, "we are likely to experience acts of catastrophic terrorism that would undermine our economy, damage our society and kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people," the Indiana senator said during an appearance at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Lugar said military might alone isn't enough to eradicate terrorism.

"To win the war against terrorism, the United States must assign U.S. economic and diplomatic capabilities the same strategic priority that we assign to military capabilities," he said.

Posted by Eric at 12:55 AM | Comments (1)

Another Unpatriotic American

How dare he put the troops in harms way by criticizing the president! *huff huff huff*

Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the nation must prevent terrorism from taking root around the world by "repairing and building alliances," increasing trade, supporting democracy, addressing regional conflicts and controlling weapons of mass destruction.

Unless the country commits itself to such measures, "we are likely to experience acts of catastrophic terrorism that would undermine our economy, damage our society and kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people," the Indiana senator said during an appearance at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Lugar said military might alone isn't enough to eradicate terrorism.

"To win the war against terrorism, the United States must assign U.S. economic and diplomatic capabilities the same strategic priority that we assign to military capabilities," he said.

Posted by Eric at 12:55 AM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2004

Some Crazy Liberal Says Army Screwed Up

Retired General Anthony Zinni told CBS's "60 Minutes" that "there has been poor strategic thinking" in regards to Iraq.

I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan. I think there was dereliction in lack of planning, says Zinni. The president is owed the finest strategic thinking. He is owed the finest operational planning. He is owed the finest tactical execution on the ground. He got the latter. He didnt get the first two.

Zinni says Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time - with the wrong strategy. And he was saying it before the U.S. invasion. In the months leading up to the war, while still Middle East envoy, Zinni carried the message to Congress: This is, in my view, the worst time to take this on. And I dont feel it needs to be done now.

But he wasnt the only former military leader with doubts about the invasion of Iraq. Former General and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Centcom Commander Norman Schwarzkopf, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, and former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki all voiced their reservations.

Zinni believes this was a war the generals didnt want but it was a war the civilians wanted.

Posted by Eric at 09:58 PM | Comments (8)

Some Crazy Liberal Says Army Screwed Up

Retired General Anthony Zinni told CBS's "60 Minutes" that "there has been poor strategic thinking" in regards to Iraq.

I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan. I think there was dereliction in lack of planning, says Zinni. The president is owed the finest strategic thinking. He is owed the finest operational planning. He is owed the finest tactical execution on the ground. He got the latter. He didnt get the first two.

Zinni says Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time - with the wrong strategy. And he was saying it before the U.S. invasion. In the months leading up to the war, while still Middle East envoy, Zinni carried the message to Congress: This is, in my view, the worst time to take this on. And I dont feel it needs to be done now.

But he wasnt the only former military leader with doubts about the invasion of Iraq. Former General and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Centcom Commander Norman Schwarzkopf, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, and former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki all voiced their reservations.

Zinni believes this was a war the generals didnt want but it was a war the civilians wanted.

Posted by Eric at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2004

Chalabi's INC Front for Iran?

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Newsday:

The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence sources.

"Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents.

The Information Collection Program also "kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing" by passing classified U.S. documents and other sensitive information, he said. The program has received millions of dollars from the U.S. government over several years.

An administration official confirmed that "highly classified information had been provided [to the Iranians] through that channel."

Posted by Eric at 06:27 PM | Comments (39)

Chalabi's INC Front for Iran?

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Newsday:

The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence sources.

"Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents.

The Information Collection Program also "kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing" by passing classified U.S. documents and other sensitive information, he said. The program has received millions of dollars from the U.S. government over several years.

An administration official confirmed that "highly classified information had been provided [to the Iranians] through that channel."

Posted by Eric at 06:27 PM | Comments (9)

May 21, 2004

Conservative Blames Gays for Prison Abuse

Robert Knight of the Culture & Family Institute places the blame on the usual suspects, reports the Washington Blade:

A conservative leader has pinned blame for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the subsequent beheading of businessman Nick Berg on gays getting married and serving in the military, among other acts of American decadence. ...
Writing for WorldNetDaily.com, a site for religious conservatives, Robert Knight of the Culture & Family Institute said the United States has arrived at the perfect storm of cultural depravity, which has come to a deadly nexus in Iraq.

He specifically targeted the militarys Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy, the recent enactment of gay marriage and the promotion of homosexuality in schools as policies that are putting Americans all over the world at risk for terrorism, along with the presence of women in combat roles in the military ... Knight also blamed increasing tolerance toward gays in his column about the Iraqi prison abuse and Muslim hatred of the U.S.

Posted by Eric at 10:50 AM | Comments (13)

Conservative Blames Gays for Prison Abuse

Robert Knight of the Culture & Family Institute places the blame on the usual suspects, reports the Washington Blade:

A conservative leader has pinned blame for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the subsequent beheading of businessman Nick Berg on gays getting married and serving in the military, among other acts of American decadence. ...
Writing for WorldNetDaily.com, a site for religious conservatives, Robert Knight of the Culture & Family Institute said the United States has arrived at the perfect storm of cultural depravity, which has come to a deadly nexus in Iraq.

He specifically targeted the militarys Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy, the recent enactment of gay marriage and the promotion of homosexuality in schools as policies that are putting Americans all over the world at risk for terrorism, along with the presence of women in combat roles in the military ... Knight also blamed increasing tolerance toward gays in his column about the Iraqi prison abuse and Muslim hatred of the U.S.

Posted by Eric at 10:50 AM | Comments (7)

Bush: Iraq Violence May Get Worse

As noted in the LATimes, Bush had a meeting with Republicans where he warned that Iraq may get worse:

Bush also warned lawmakers that violence in Iraq could get worse as June 30 nears.

"This has been a rough couple of months for the president, particularly on the issues of Iraq, and I think he was here to remind folks that we do have a policy and this policy is going to be tough," said Santorum. "Things, as I think he commented, are very likely to get worse before they get better."

Posted by Eric at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)

Bush: Iraq Violence May Get Worse

As noted in the LATimes, Bush had a meeting with Republicans where he warned that Iraq may get worse:

Bush also warned lawmakers that violence in Iraq could get worse as June 30 nears.

"This has been a rough couple of months for the president, particularly on the issues of Iraq, and I think he was here to remind folks that we do have a policy and this policy is going to be tough," said Santorum. "Things, as I think he commented, are very likely to get worse before they get better."

Posted by Eric at 09:48 AM | Comments (3)

May 19, 2004

5 Dead While Undergoing Interrogations?

The Denver Post takes a look at Pentagon records and, as Talk Left reports, finds that "five prisoners have died at four detention camps (including Abu Ghraib) while undergoing interrogation by the U.S."

Posted by Eric at 10:04 AM | Comments (22)

5 Dead While Undergoing Interrogations?

The Denver Post takes a look at Pentagon records and, as Talk Left reports, finds that "five prisoners have died at four detention camps (including Abu Ghraib) while undergoing interrogation by the U.S."

Posted by Eric at 10:04 AM | Comments (6)

More Soldier Scandals in Iraq

First, an intel staffer at Abu Gharib says the Army is trying to coverup the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. ABC News.

Next, Reuters and NBC staff members were beaten by US forces:

The three first told Reuters of the ordeal after their release but only decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence they had been abused, and following the exposure of similar mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

An Iraqi journalist working for U.S. network NBC, who was arrested with the Reuters staff, also said he had been beaten and mistreated, NBC said Tuesday.

Two of the three Reuters staff said they had been forced to insert a finger into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture.

All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.

Posted by Eric at 04:05 AM | Comments (17)

More Soldier Scandals in Iraq

First, an intel staffer at Abu Gharib says the Army is trying to coverup the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. ABC News.

Next, Reuters and NBC staff members were beaten by US forces:

The three first told Reuters of the ordeal after their release but only decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence they had been abused, and following the exposure of similar mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

An Iraqi journalist working for U.S. network NBC, who was arrested with the Reuters staff, also said he had been beaten and mistreated, NBC said Tuesday.

Two of the three Reuters staff said they had been forced to insert a finger into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture.

All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.

Posted by Eric at 04:05 AM | Comments (9)

May 18, 2004

Bush Administration Blew Chance to Nab Terrorist

From NBC News. So who is the terrorist?

With Tuesdays attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.
And what did the Bush administration do?
But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

But, of course, the White House killed the plans.
The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the presidents policy of preemption against terrorists, according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey ... The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

And we get to the big reason why. Irony: "Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawis operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Zarqawi is also suspected in the killing of Nicholas Berg, among other things.

Posted by Eric at 01:49 PM | Comments (15)

Bush Administration Blew Chance to Nab Terrorist

From NBC News. So who is the terrorist?

With Tuesdays attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.
And what did the Bush administration do?
But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

But, of course, the White House killed the plans.
The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the presidents policy of preemption against terrorists, according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey ... The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

And we get to the big reason why. Irony: "Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawis operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Zarqawi is also suspected in the killing of Nicholas Berg, among other things.

Posted by Eric at 01:49 PM | Comments (7)

May 15, 2004

Lying Liar: New Yorker Magazine Says Rumsfeld and Aide Backed Harsh Tactics

More poop to hit the fan shortly. NY Times:

The article, by Seymour M. Hersh, reports that Mr. Rumsfeld and Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, approved the use of the tougher interrogation techniques in Iraq in 2003 in an effort to extract better information from Iraqi prisoners to counter the growing insurgency threat in the country.

Across the Bush administration, officials on Saturday disputed several of the critical details in Mr. Hersh's article. They said that there was no high-level decision or command that they were aware of to use highly coercive interrogation techniques on Iraqi prisoners.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who has apologized for the abuses, has said that the prison abuses were conducted by lower-level military forces without the approval of senior commanders.

Sign the DCCC's petition to have Rummy fired.

Posted by Eric at 07:24 PM | Comments (41)

Lying Liar: New Yorker Magazine Says Rumsfeld and Aide Backed Harsh Tactics

More poop to hit the fan shortly. NY Times:

The article, by Seymour M. Hersh, reports that Mr. Rumsfeld and Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, approved the use of the tougher interrogation techniques in Iraq in 2003 in an effort to extract better information from Iraqi prisoners to counter the growing insurgency threat in the country.

Across the Bush administration, officials on Saturday disputed several of the critical details in Mr. Hersh's article. They said that there was no high-level decision or command that they were aware of to use highly coercive interrogation techniques on Iraqi prisoners.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who has apologized for the abuses, has said that the prison abuses were conducted by lower-level military forces without the approval of senior commanders.

Sign the DCCC's petition to have Rummy fired.

Posted by Eric at 07:24 PM | Comments (5)

May 14, 2004

Family Research Council Points the Fingers

Yes, because before MTV and pornography, this type of stuff never happened. From the Family Research Council:

"As Chuck Colson pointed out at FRC's inaugural Pastors' Briefing yesterday, when you mix young people who grew up on a steady diet of MTV and pornography with a prison environment, you get the abuse at Abu Ghriab."

Posted by Eric at 01:21 PM | Comments (11)

Family Research Council Points the Fingers

Yes, because before MTV and pornography, this type of stuff never happened. From the Family Research Council:

"As Chuck Colson pointed out at FRC's inaugural Pastors' Briefing yesterday, when you mix young people who grew up on a steady diet of MTV and pornography with a prison environment, you get the abuse at Abu Ghriab."

Posted by Eric at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2004

Two Servicemen Killed in Iraq

"The latest deaths brings to 777 the number of US soldiers killed since the start of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003." AP.

Posted by Eric at 09:33 AM | Comments (3)

Two Servicemen Killed in Iraq

"The latest deaths brings to 777 the number of US soldiers killed since the start of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003." AP.

Posted by Eric at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2004

Wrath of the International Consumers?

Are international consumers showing their disdain for America through the wonderful world of capitalism? Guardian:

The number of people who like and use US branded products has fallen significantly over the past year, while brands perceived to be non-American have remained relatively stable.

According to NOP World, which carried out the survey, a mixture of America's controversial involvement in Iraq, its handling of the "war against terrorism", corporate scandals such as WorldCom and its failure to sign up to the Kyoto environmental agreement, have all had a profoundly negative affect on the perception of US culture and its major brands.

Tom Miller, the managing director of NOP World, said worsening attitudes to the county's products could damage US business.

Coca-Cola from 55% to 52%. McDonald's rating from 36% to 33%. Nike's from 56% to 53% and Microsoft from 45% to 39%. Big picture, "The total number of consumers worldwide who "use" US brands was found to have fallen from 30% to 27%, while non-American brands remained stable at 24%."

Posted by Eric at 04:32 PM | Comments (8)

Wrath of the International Consumers?

Are international consumers showing their disdain for America through the wonderful world of capitalism? Guardian:

The number of people who like and use US branded products has fallen significantly over the past year, while brands perceived to be non-American have remained relatively stable.

According to NOP World, which carried out the survey, a mixture of America's controversial involvement in Iraq, its handling of the "war against terrorism", corporate scandals such as WorldCom and its failure to sign up to the Kyoto environmental agreement, have all had a profoundly negative affect on the perception of US culture and its major brands.

Tom Miller, the managing director of NOP World, said worsening attitudes to the county's products could damage US business.

Coca-Cola from 55% to 52%. McDonald's rating from 36% to 33%. Nike's from 56% to 53% and Microsoft from 45% to 39%. Big picture, "The total number of consumers worldwide who "use" US brands was found to have fallen from 30% to 27%, while non-American brands remained stable at 24%."

Posted by Eric at 04:32 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2004

More Crap to Come

Notes Rummy:

There are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence towards prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he said. ... Its going to get a good deal more terrible, Im afraid.

Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and acting inappropriately with a dead body. The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.

Posted by Eric at 12:44 AM | Comments (220)

More Crap to Come

Notes Rummy:

There are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence towards prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he said. ... Its going to get a good deal more terrible, Im afraid.

Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and acting inappropriately with a dead body. The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.

Posted by Eric at 12:44 AM | Comments (18)

May 06, 2004

Limbaugh on the Torture Scandal

Interesting. Though we shouldn't expect anything else.

CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

The Limbaugh "good time" exemption.

Posted by Eric at 12:56 PM | Comments (70)

Limbaugh on the Torture Scandal

Interesting. Though we shouldn't expect anything else.

CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

The Limbaugh "good time" exemption.

Posted by Eric at 12:56 PM | Comments (17)

North Korea

According to the LA Times:

The North has been trying for years to develop ballistic missiles that could reach the United States, but it has been widely assumed that such missiles were in the developmental stage.

If the reports are confirmed, they would be an alarming development given that the Pyongyang government is also pursuing nuclear technology ... The official told the newspaper that the missile was likely to have a range of 1,800 to 2,500 miles, making it capable of reaching key Pacific bases in Guam and Okinawa.

Ehhh...
And because the missile can be launched from a craft, it might be able to reach Hawaii.
Doh!

Posted by Eric at 12:21 PM | Comments (8)

North Korea

According to the LA Times:

The North has been trying for years to develop ballistic missiles that could reach the United States, but it has been widely assumed that such missiles were in the developmental stage.

If the reports are confirmed, they would be an alarming development given that the Pyongyang government is also pursuing nuclear technology ... The official told the newspaper that the missile was likely to have a range of 1,800 to 2,500 miles, making it capable of reaching key Pacific bases in Guam and Okinawa.

Ehhh...
And because the missile can be launched from a craft, it might be able to reach Hawaii.
Doh!

Posted by Eric at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)

More Graphic Pictures Emerge

From the Washington Post:

Mixed in with more than 1,000 digital pictures obtained by The Washington Post are photographs of naked men, apparently prisoners, sprawled on top of one another while soldiers stand around them. There is another photograph of a naked man with a dark hood over his head, handcuffed to a cell door. And another of a naked man handcuffed to a bunk bed, his arms splayed so wide that his back is arched. A pair of women's underwear covers his head and face.

The graphic images, passed around among military police who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, are a new batch of photographs similar to those broadcast a week ago on CBS's "60 Minutes II" and published by the New Yorker magazine. They appear to provide further visual evidence of the chaos and unprofessionalism at the prison detailed in a report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. His report, which relied in part on the photographs, found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" that were inflicted on detainees.

So who is the ubiquitous woman in those pictures? A reservist from W.VA: Lynndie England

Posted by Eric at 12:30 AM | Comments (19)

More Graphic Pictures Emerge

From the Washington Post:

Mixed in with more than 1,000 digital pictures obtained by The Washington Post are photographs of naked men, apparently prisoners, sprawled on top of one another while soldiers stand around them. There is another photograph of a naked man with a dark hood over his head, handcuffed to a cell door. And another of a naked man handcuffed to a bunk bed, his arms splayed so wide that his back is arched. A pair of women's underwear covers his head and face.

The graphic images, passed around among military police who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, are a new batch of photographs similar to those broadcast a week ago on CBS's "60 Minutes II" and published by the New Yorker magazine. They appear to provide further visual evidence of the chaos and unprofessionalism at the prison detailed in a report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. His report, which relied in part on the photographs, found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" that were inflicted on detainees.

So who is the ubiquitous woman in those pictures? A reservist from W.VA: Lynndie England

Posted by Eric at 12:30 AM | Comments (4)

May 04, 2004

82% of Canada Dislike Bush, Eh?

What a bunch of hosers, eh? What say you, poll:

More than eight in 10 Canadians harbour a strong dislike for U.S. President George Bush, according to a new poll released, hours before Prime Minister Paul Martin met the U.S. leader on Friday.

Eighty-two percent of people polled by Ipsos-Reid for CTV and The Globe and Mail agreed with the statement that Bush "is not necessarily a friend of Canada and doesn't really know anything when it comes to Canadian issues."

Bill O'Reilly is sticking it to Canada in his own boycotting way.

Posted by Eric at 12:47 AM | Comments (155)

82% of Canada Dislike Bush, Eh?

What a bunch of hosers, eh? What say you, poll:

More than eight in 10 Canadians harbour a strong dislike for U.S. President George Bush, according to a new poll released, hours before Prime Minister Paul Martin met the U.S. leader on Friday.

Eighty-two percent of people polled by Ipsos-Reid for CTV and The Globe and Mail agreed with the statement that Bush "is not necessarily a friend of Canada and doesn't really know anything when it comes to Canadian issues."

Bill O'Reilly is sticking it to Canada in his own boycotting way.

Posted by Eric at 12:47 AM | Comments (11)

April 30, 2004

Blame Canada

The people up north are outpacing the US economy:

Outpaced by Canada

A new report from The Center for American Progress reveals that "had the U.S. kept pace with Canada in job creation since January, 2001, it would have more than 9 million additional jobs." With the president touting the 308,000 jobs the American economy added in March, the American Progress report, entitled: "Canada Moves North of U.S. in Job Creation," provides a sobering analysis of the overall job picture during the Bush administration. While Canada has faced similar challenges as the U.S. over the past three-and-a-half years, its job creation record is vastly superior—"Canada's total employment level expanded from 14.9 million to 15.75 million, an increase of 5.6%. During that same period employment in the United States declined from 131.8 million to 129.9 million." The report shows a troubling contrast between a Bush administration which has not developed policies to convert economic growth into new jobs, and a Canadian strategy which has overcome various challenges with policies including responsible tax cuts to maintain consistent job creation.

The Center notes that "Canada targeted its tax breaks more toward the middle class and left the top rate in place."

Posted by Eric at 02:04 PM | Comments (11)

Blame Canada

The people up north are outpacing the US economy:

Outpaced by Canada

A new report from The Center for American Progress reveals that "had the U.S. kept pace with Canada in job creation since January, 2001, it would have more than 9 million additional jobs." With the president touting the 308,000 jobs the American economy added in March, the American Progress report, entitled: "Canada Moves North of U.S. in Job Creation," provides a sobering analysis of the overall job picture during the Bush administration. While Canada has faced similar challenges as the U.S. over the past three-and-a-half years, its job creation record is vastly superior—"Canada's total employment level expanded from 14.9 million to 15.75 million, an increase of 5.6%. During that same period employment in the United States declined from 131.8 million to 129.9 million." The report shows a troubling contrast between a Bush administration which has not developed policies to convert economic growth into new jobs, and a Canadian strategy which has overcome various challenges with policies including responsible tax cuts to maintain consistent job creation.

The Center notes that "Canada targeted its tax breaks more toward the middle class and left the top rate in place."

Posted by Eric at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2004

Ten Soldiers Killed Thursday

From the AP.

Posted by Eric at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)

Ten Soldiers Killed Thursday

From the AP.

Posted by Eric at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2004

Bikinians Hope to Return Home

Not that kind of Bikinian ... This kind:

On March 17 in Washington, 7,000 miles east of here, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution hailing the half-century "strategic partnership" with these people of the mid-Pacific, a partnership in which they lost their home islands to U.S. nuclear bomb tests, and from which they fear Washington may soon walk away.

The resolution noted "the cost of preserving peace." But the U.S. government, after $191 million disbursed since the 1970s, is offering nothing new to the Bikinians, no further compensation to revive hopes that Bikini atoll might be purged of lingering radioactivity, and Bikinians might return to the abandoned islands .... In all, between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, then a U.S. protectorate under the United Nations. The megatonnage was equal to exploding 1.6 Hiroshima atomic bombs a day for 12 years. Twenty-three tests took place at Bikini, and four of its islets were vaporized ...

Because of a high birthrate and marriages to people from other islands, the count of "official" Bikinians has exploded, to more than 3,000, since Chief Juda led 167 off the island in 1946. About 1,000 live on isolated Kili, 400 on Ejit, and others on the main island of Majuro or in the United States, where 300 students are in schools.

Posted by Eric at 07:38 PM | Comments (24)

Bikinians Hope to Return Home

Not that kind of Bikinian ... This kind:

On March 17 in Washington, 7,000 miles east of here, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution hailing the half-century "strategic partnership" with these people of the mid-Pacific, a partnership in which they lost their home islands to U.S. nuclear bomb tests, and from which they fear Washington may soon walk away.

The resolution noted "the cost of preserving peace." But the U.S. government, after $191 million disbursed since the 1970s, is offering nothing new to the Bikinians, no further compensation to revive hopes that Bikini atoll might be purged of lingering radioactivity, and Bikinians might return to the abandoned islands .... In all, between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, then a U.S. protectorate under the United Nations. The megatonnage was equal to exploding 1.6 Hiroshima atomic bombs a day for 12 years. Twenty-three tests took place at Bikini, and four of its islets were vaporized ...

Because of a high birthrate and marriages to people from other islands, the count of "official" Bikinians has exploded, to more than 3,000, since Chief Juda led 167 off the island in 1946. About 1,000 live on isolated Kili, 400 on Ejit, and others on the main island of Majuro or in the United States, where 300 students are in schools.

Posted by Eric at 07:38 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2004

5 Dead, Six Wounded in Iraq

From the WPost:

Five U.S. soldiers were killed and six wounded early Saturday when two rockets landed in their base at Taji, north of Baghdad, the military reported.

The attack was one of a number of eruptions of violence around Iraq Saturday. About three hours after the soldiers were hit in Taji, a car bomb was detonated in Tikrit, also north of Baghdad. Initial reports indicated the bomb targeted a police station, as have many car bombs in recent months. Reuters news agency said a shopping center was also in the area of the blast and that as many as three police officers were killed and 16 people, many of them also police, were injured.

Posted by Eric at 12:57 PM | Comments (28)

5 Dead, Six Wounded in Iraq

From the WPost:

Five U.S. soldiers were killed and six wounded early Saturday when two rockets landed in their base at Taji, north of Baghdad, the military reported.

The attack was one of a number of eruptions of violence around Iraq Saturday. About three hours after the soldiers were hit in Taji, a car bomb was detonated in Tikrit, also north of Baghdad. Initial reports indicated the bomb targeted a police station, as have many car bombs in recent months. Reuters news agency said a shopping center was also in the area of the blast and that as many as three police officers were killed and 16 people, many of them also police, were injured.

Posted by Eric at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2004

Soldier Who Left NFL Killed in Afghanistan

Quite sad. From ESPN:

Tillman played four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the Army in May 2002. The safety turned down a three-year, $3.6 million deal from Arizona.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Marie. Several of Tillman's friends also have said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks influenced his decision to enlist ... In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army he passed on millions more from the team.

Tillman turned aside interview requests after joining the Army. He had denied requests for media coverage of his enlistment, basic training and ultimate deployment. According to Army officials at the time, Tillman wanted no special treatment, wanted no special attention, but wanted to be considered just one of the soldiers doing his duty for his country.

Posted by Eric at 03:00 PM | Comments (46)

Soldier Who Left NFL Killed in Afghanistan

Quite sad. From ESPN:

Tillman played four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the Army in May 2002. The safety turned down a three-year, $3.6 million deal from Arizona.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Marie. Several of Tillman's friends also have said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks influenced his decision to enlist ... In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army he passed on millions more from the team.

Tillman turned aside interview requests after joining the Army. He had denied requests for media coverage of his enlistment, basic training and ultimate deployment. According to Army officials at the time, Tillman wanted no special treatment, wanted no special attention, but wanted to be considered just one of the soldiers doing his duty for his country.

Posted by Eric at 03:00 PM | Comments (10)

April 21, 2004

Dominican Republic Leaving!

All 302 troops!

The Dominican Republic will pull its troops out of Iraq early, in the next few weeks, following the lead of Spain and Honduras, Gen. Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez said Tuesday.

The announcement came just two days after President Hipolito Mejia pledged to keep the country's 302 troops in Iraq until their one-year committment ended in August.

''The troops in Iraq will be coming back in the next couple weeks,'' the Dominican Armed Forces general said.

Posted by Eric at 12:15 AM | Comments (125)

Dominican Republic Leaving!

All 302 troops!

The Dominican Republic will pull its troops out of Iraq early, in the next few weeks, following the lead of Spain and Honduras, Gen. Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez said Tuesday.

The announcement came just two days after President Hipolito Mejia pledged to keep the country's 302 troops in Iraq until their one-year committment ended in August.

''The troops in Iraq will be coming back in the next couple weeks,'' the Dominican Armed Forces general said.

Posted by Eric at 12:15 AM | Comments (15)

April 20, 2004

Honduras Out

Out of Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 01:04 PM | Comments (28)

Honduras Out

Out of Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 01:04 PM | Comments (7)

Coalition Provisional Authority memo: Democracy in Iraq Not So Fo-Sheezy

Jason Vest tells us what is becoming more and more apparent: Iraq democracy won't be an easy task. But it's not his opinion, it's a US government official in a Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo:

But according to a closely held Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo written in early March, the reality isn't so rosy. Iraq's chances of seeing democracy succeed, according to the memo's authora U.S. government official detailed to the CPA, who wrote this summation of observations he'd made in the field for a senior CPA directorhave been severely imperiled by a year's worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA, the U.S.-led multinational agency administering Iraq. Far from facilitating democracy and security, the memo's author fears, U.S. efforts have created an environment rife with corruption and sectarianism likely to result in civil war.

Provided to this reporter by a Western intelligence official, the memo was partially redacted to protect the writer's identity and to "avoid inflaming an already volatile situation" by revealing the names of certain Iraqi figures. A wide-ranging and often acerbic critique of the CPA, covering topics ranging from policy, personalities, and press operations to on-the-ground realities such as electricity, the document is not only notable for its candidly troubled assessment of Iraq's future. It is also significant, according to the intelligence official, because its author has been a steadfast advocate of "transforming" the Middle East, beginning with "regime change" in Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 11:07 AM | Comments (50)

Coalition Provisional Authority memo: Democracy in Iraq Not So Fo-Sheezy

Jason Vest tells us what is becoming more and more apparent: Iraq democracy won't be an easy task. But it's not his opinion, it's a US government official in a Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo:

But according to a closely held Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo written in early March, the reality isn't so rosy. Iraq's chances of seeing democracy succeed, according to the memo's authora U.S. government official detailed to the CPA, who wrote this summation of observations he'd made in the field for a senior CPA directorhave been severely imperiled by a year's worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA, the U.S.-led multinational agency administering Iraq. Far from facilitating democracy and security, the memo's author fears, U.S. efforts have created an environment rife with corruption and sectarianism likely to result in civil war.

Provided to this reporter by a Western intelligence official, the memo was partially redacted to protect the writer's identity and to "avoid inflaming an already volatile situation" by revealing the names of certain Iraqi figures. A wide-ranging and often acerbic critique of the CPA, covering topics ranging from policy, personalities, and press operations to on-the-ground realities such as electricity, the document is not only notable for its candidly troubled assessment of Iraq's future. It is also significant, according to the intelligence official, because its author has been a steadfast advocate of "transforming" the Middle East, beginning with "regime change" in Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 11:07 AM | Comments (6)

April 19, 2004

Spain to Leave Iraq ASAP

Prepare to replace 'Spanish Rice' with 'Freedom Rice.' From NY Times:

Just 24 hours after he was sworn in, Mr. Zapatero said he had ordered Defense Minister Jos Bono to "do what is necessary" for the Spanish troops to return home in the shortest possible time.

Mr. Zapatero said he had made his decision because it was unlikely that the United Nations would be playing a leading role in Iraq any time soon, which had been his condition for Spain's 1,300 troops to remain. Because of troop rotation, more than 1,400 are there now.

Posted by Eric at 12:26 AM | Comments (74)

Spain to Leave Iraq ASAP

Prepare to replace 'Spanish Rice' with 'Freedom Rice.' From NY Times:

Just 24 hours after he was sworn in, Mr. Zapatero said he had ordered Defense Minister Jos Bono to "do what is necessary" for the Spanish troops to return home in the shortest possible time.

Mr. Zapatero said he had made his decision because it was unlikely that the United Nations would be playing a leading role in Iraq any time soon, which had been his condition for Spain's 1,300 troops to remain. Because of troop rotation, more than 1,400 are there now.

Posted by Eric at 12:26 AM | Comments (13)

April 16, 2004

Hostage Crisis Splits Japan Into Two Camps

And they are not pro and anti Crayon ShinChan. From the Japan Times:

One side supports the government's decision not to withdraw the Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq. It believes the three Japanese hostages got what they deserved because they chose to enter a dangerous zone of their own volition.

The other camp is critical of the government's stance, which it says makes light of human life because Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi immediately rejected any plan to withdraw SDF troops.

And the families of the three hostages are caught between the two camps. Their homes and temporary offices in Tokyo are flooded with telephone and fax messages of both encouragement and harassment.

Posted by Eric at 08:41 AM | Comments (23)

Hostage Crisis Splits Japan Into Two Camps

And they are not pro and anti Crayon ShinChan. From the Japan Times:

One side supports the government's decision not to withdraw the Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq. It believes the three Japanese hostages got what they deserved because they chose to enter a dangerous zone of their own volition.

The other camp is critical of the government's stance, which it says makes light of human life because Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi immediately rejected any plan to withdraw SDF troops.

And the families of the three hostages are caught between the two camps. Their homes and temporary offices in Tokyo are flooded with telephone and fax messages of both encouragement and harassment.

Posted by Eric at 08:41 AM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2004

11 Soldiers Dead Since Friday

From the WPost:

The military announced Sunday the death of 11 more U.S. troops in Iraq combat over the past three days, including two pilots killed when an Apache attack helicopter was shot down near Baghdad Sunday.

Three 1st Armored Division soldiers were killed in a coordinated attack Friday morning, the military said. A fourth member of the same unit died during an attack on a convoy in Baghdad that evening.

On the same day in Tikrit, three members of the 1st Infantry Division were killed in an ambush, said a military spokesman, while in Anbar province--where fighting has continued in Fallujah and Ramadi--another U.S. Marine died Friday.

One more soldier died from wounds received in the fighting that raged in Baqubah, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. That fight took the lives of 47 Iraqis Friday, U.S. officials said. It was one of the bloodiest confrontations of the insurgency, part of one of the bloodiest weeks in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad a year ago.

Posted by Eric at 07:17 PM | Comments (23)

11 Soldiers Dead Since Friday

From the WPost:

The military announced Sunday the death of 11 more U.S. troops in Iraq combat over the past three days, including two pilots killed when an Apache attack helicopter was shot down near Baghdad Sunday.

Three 1st Armored Division soldiers were killed in a coordinated attack Friday morning, the military said. A fourth member of the same unit died during an attack on a convoy in Baghdad that evening.

On the same day in Tikrit, three members of the 1st Infantry Division were killed in an ambush, said a military spokesman, while in Anbar province--where fighting has continued in Fallujah and Ramadi--another U.S. Marine died Friday.

One more soldier died from wounds received in the fighting that raged in Baqubah, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. That fight took the lives of 47 Iraqis Friday, U.S. officials said. It was one of the bloodiest confrontations of the insurgency, part of one of the bloodiest weeks in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad a year ago.

Posted by Eric at 07:17 PM | Comments (2)

Hypothetical

James Pinkerton: "If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader?"

Indeed.

Posted by Eric at 07:14 PM | Comments (73)

Hypothetical

James Pinkerton: "If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader?"

Indeed.

Posted by Eric at 07:14 PM | Comments (22)

April 09, 2004

In Iraq

This week, according to the AP, "at least 450 Iraqis were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in fighting in the city of Falluja this week."

Today, at least nine were killed in an attack on a US convoy.

Kerry told an audience today ...

"This administration has been gridlocked by its own ideology and its own arrogance," Kerry told about two dozen Democratic donors at a breakfast meeting. "Yes, we can succeed but, boy I tell you, it's a lot tougher."

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said President Bush should admit the conduct of the war in Iraq and the country's subsequent reconstruction "is more complicated than they thought it was."

Posted by Eric at 04:24 PM | Comments (23)

In Iraq

This week, according to the AP, "at least 450 Iraqis were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in fighting in the city of Falluja this week."

Today, at least nine were killed in an attack on a US convoy.

Kerry told an audience today ...

"This administration has been gridlocked by its own ideology and its own arrogance," Kerry told about two dozen Democratic donors at a breakfast meeting. "Yes, we can succeed but, boy I tell you, it's a lot tougher."

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said President Bush should admit the conduct of the war in Iraq and the country's subsequent reconstruction "is more complicated than they thought it was."

Posted by Eric at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

April 08, 2004

Japan Caught in Hostage Crisis

From the BBC

The three civilians were snatched by a group called the Mujahideen Brigades and Arab al-Jazeera TV showed them being held at knife-point.

Elsewhere, two Arab Israelis were also kidnapped, but seven abducted South Korean missionaries were released.

Our Baghdad correspondent says this is the first use of kidnappings for political ends in the conflict.

The gunmen holding the Japanese say they will burn their captives alive unless Japanese troops are withdrawn from Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 06:34 PM | Comments (22)

Japan Caught in Hostage Crisis

From the BBC

The three civilians were snatched by a group called the Mujahideen Brigades and Arab al-Jazeera TV showed them being held at knife-point.

Elsewhere, two Arab Israelis were also kidnapped, but seven abducted South Korean missionaries were released.

Our Baghdad correspondent says this is the first use of kidnappings for political ends in the conflict.

The gunmen holding the Japanese say they will burn their captives alive unless Japanese troops are withdrawn from Iraq.

Posted by Eric at 06:34 PM | Comments (3)

April 06, 2004

Up to 12 Dead in Latest Attack

Man ... Reuters:

As many as a dozen American Marines were killed on Tuesday when their position was attacked in the Iraqi city of Ramadi just outside the Sunni hotbed of Falluja, a U.S. defense official said.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said initial reports indicated that dozens of Iraqis assaulted the Marine position near the governor's palace in Ramadi.

"There may have been as many as a dozen Marine deaths," the official said, adding that "a significant number" of Iraqis were killed.

The official said it was not clear exactly who had mounted the fierce attack on the Marines in an area of the so-called "Sunni Triangle," a hotbed of support for the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.

Posted by Eric at 06:39 PM | Comments (14)

Up to 12 Dead in Latest Attack

Man ... Reuters:

As many as a dozen American Marines were killed on Tuesday when their position was attacked in the Iraqi city of Ramadi just outside the Sunni hotbed of Falluja, a U.S. defense official said.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said initial reports indicated that dozens of Iraqis assaulted the Marine position near the governor's palace in Ramadi.

"There may have been as many as a dozen Marine deaths," the official said, adding that "a significant number" of Iraqis were killed.

The official said it was not clear exactly who had mounted the fierce attack on the Marines in an area of the so-called "Sunni Triangle," a hotbed of support for the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.

Posted by Eric at 06:39 PM | Comments (3)

Book: H.W Bush Opposed Iraq War

Claims a new book, according to the NY Daily News:

In "The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty," Peter and Rochelle Schweizer cite as evidence a summer 2002 interview in which the older Bush's sister said her brother had expressed his "anguish" about the administration's preparations for war.

"But do they have an exit strategy?" the former President is quoted as worrying.

"Although he never went public with them," the authors assert, "the President's own father shared many of [the] concerns" of Brent Scowcroft, his national security adviser and a leading war opponent.

Top Bush aide Jean Becker denied the allegations yesterday.

"From the very first day, President Bush 41 unequivocally supported the President on the war in Iraq," she said. "He had absolutely no reservations of any kind."

Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at Stanford University's conservative Hoover Institution and authored "Reagan's War." The book pries open the door slightly on one of the Bush clan's most closely held secrets: the former President's private qualms about portions of his son's Iraq policy.

Posted by Eric at 08:47 AM | Comments (7)

Book: H.W Bush Opposed Iraq War

Claims a new book, according to the NY Daily News:

In "The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty," Peter and Rochelle Schweizer cite as evidence a summer 2002 interview in which the older Bush's sister said her brother had expressed his "anguish" about the administration's preparations for war.

"But do they have an exit strategy?" the former President is quoted as worrying.

"Although he never went public with them," the authors assert, "the President's own father shared many of [the] concerns" of Brent Scowcroft, his national security adviser and a leading war opponent.

Top Bush aide Jean Becker denied the allegations yesterday.

"From the very first day, President Bush 41 unequivocally supported the President on the war in Iraq," she said. "He had absolutely no reservations of any kind."

Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at Stanford University's conservative Hoover Institution and authored "Reagan's War." The book pries open the door slightly on one of the Bush clan's most closely held secrets: the former President's private qualms about portions of his son's Iraq policy.

Posted by Eric at 08:47 AM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2004

2 Coalition Soldiers Dead in Fight with Iraqi Protesters

Oy. AP:

Two soldiers--a Salvadoran and an American _ died and nine were injured Sunday in clashes with protesters at the Spanish garrison near the holy city of Najaf, the Spanish Defense Ministry said.

The ministry had earlier reported four Salvadoran soldiers in the Spanish led peacekeeping force had been killed.

The clashes broke out when gunmen who were apparently followers of an anti-U.S. Muslim cleric opened fire on the Spanish garrison, the ministry said in a statement. The protesters were angry over the arrest of an aide to the cleric, the ministry said.

UPDATE: "9 Coalition Troops Killed as Violence Erupts Across Iraq." From the AP:
Supporters of an anti-American cleric rioted in four Iraqi cities Sunday, killing eight U.S. troops and one Salvadoran soldier in the worst unrest since the spasm of looting and arson immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. military on Sunday reported two Marines were killed in a separate ``enemy action'' in Anbar province, raising the toll of American service members killed in Iraq to at least 610.

The rioters were supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They were angry over Saturday's arrest on murder charges of one of al-Sadr's aides, Mustafa al-Yacoubi, and the closure of a pro-al-Sadr newspaper.

Near the holy city of Najaf, a gunbattle at a Spanish garrison killed at least 22 people, including two coalition soldiers -- an American and a Salvadoran.

Fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City killed seven U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 24, the U.S. military said in a written statement.

Posted by Eric at 04:30 PM | Comments (13)

2 Coalition Soldiers Dead in Fight with Iraqi Protesters

Oy. AP:

Two soldiers--a Salvadoran and an American _ died and nine were injured Sunday in clashes with protesters at the Spanish garrison near the holy city of Najaf, the Spanish Defense Ministry said.

The ministry had earlier reported four Salvadoran soldiers in the Spanish led peacekeeping force had been killed.

The clashes broke out when gunmen who were apparently followers of an anti-U.S. Muslim cleric opened fire on the Spanish garrison, the ministry said in a statement. The protesters were angry over the arrest of an aide to the cleric, the ministry said.

UPDATE: "9 Coalition Troops Killed as Violence Erupts Across Iraq." From the AP:
Supporters of an anti-American cleric rioted in four Iraqi cities Sunday, killing eight U.S. troops and one Salvadoran soldier in the worst unrest since the spasm of looting and arson immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. military on Sunday reported two Marines were killed in a separate ``enemy action'' in Anbar province, raising the toll of American service members killed in Iraq to at least 610.

The rioters were supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They were angry over Saturday's arrest on murder charges of one of al-Sadr's aides, Mustafa al-Yacoubi, and the closure of a pro-al-Sadr newspaper.

Near the holy city of Najaf, a gunbattle at a Spanish garrison killed at least 22 people, including two coalition soldiers -- an American and a Salvadoran.

Fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City killed seven U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 24, the U.S. military said in a written statement.

Posted by Eric at 04:30 PM | Comments (4)

Guardian: "Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war"

The "decision came nine days after 9/11." Explosive. No need to say anymore, from The Guardian:

President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.
According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner when Blair became the first foreign leader to visit America after 11 September, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Bush, claims Meyer, replied by saying: 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.' Regime change was already US policy ... Details of this extraordinary conversation will be published this week in a 25,000-word article on the path to war with Iraq in the May issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair. It provides new corroboration of the claims made last month in a book by Bush's former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, that Bush was 'obsessed' with Iraq as his principal target after 9/11.

But the implications for Blair may be still more explosive. The discussion implies that, even before the bombing of Afghanistan, Blair already knew that the US intended to attack Saddam next, although he continued to insist in public that 'no decisions had been taken' until almost the moment that the invasion began in March 2003. His critics are likely to seize on the report of the two leaders' exchange and demand to know when Blair resolved to provide the backing that Bush sought.

The Vanity Fair article will provide further ammunition in the shape of extracts from the private, contemporaneous diary kept by the former International Development Secretary, Clare Short, throughout the months leading up to the war. This reveals how, during the summer of 2002, when Blair and his closest advisers were mounting an intense diplomatic campaign to persuade Bush to agree to seek United Nations support over Iraq, and promising British support for military action in return, Blair apparently concealed his actions from his Cabinet.

Posted by Eric at 09:19 AM | Comments (16)

Guardian: "Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war"

The "decision came nine days after 9/11." Explosive. No need to say anymore, from The Guardian:

President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.
According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner when Blair became the first foreign leader to visit America after 11 September, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror's initial goal - dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Bush, claims Meyer, replied by saying: 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.' Regime change was already US policy ... Details of this extraordinary conversation will be published this week in a 25,000-word article on the path to war with Iraq in the May issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair. It provides new corroboration of the claims made last month in a book by Bush's former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, that Bush was 'obsessed' with Iraq as his principal target after 9/11.

But the implications for Blair may be still more explosive. The discussion implies that, even before the bombing of Afghanistan, Blair already knew that the US intended to attack Saddam next, although he continued to insist in public that 'no decisions had been taken' until almost the moment that the invasion began in March 2003. His critics are likely to seize on the report of the two leaders' exchange and demand to know when Blair resolved to provide the backing that Bush sought.

The Vanity Fair article will provide further ammunition in the shape of extracts from the private, contemporaneous diary kept by the former International Development Secretary, Clare Short, throughout the months leading up to the war. This reveals how, during the summer of 2002, when Blair and his closest advisers were mounting an intense diplomatic campaign to persuade Bush to agree to seek United Nations support over Iraq, and promising British support for military action in return, Blair apparently concealed his actions from his Cabinet.

Posted by Eric at 09:19 AM | Comments (7)

April 02, 2004

Europeans Shall Love Us More

Because we love them like a fat kid loves broccoli:

A report released by a House committee describes how the Bush administration worked with the U.S. chemical industry to undermine a European plan that would require all manufacturers to test their industrial chemicals for their effect on public health before they are marketed in Europe.
.
The administration had said publicly that the proposal last year would threaten the $20 billion in chemicals that the United States exports to Europe each year because the cost of testing would be prohibitive. Five years in the making, the proposal, which was revised and is still under consideration, would shift the burden of proving the safety of chemicals onto manufacturers instead of governments.
.
Behind the scenes, the administration was working with the chemical industry to devise a plan to undermine the proposal, according to e-mail messages and documents in the report, which was released Thursday
If you want to view the report, go here.

Rep. Waxman: "There is no evidence that the administration ever attempted to determine what was best for the nation as a whole," Waxman said. "The administration ignored requests to analyze what the benefits of the European proposal might have been and dismissed the concerns of environmental and public health groups. ... The only views that mattered were those of the chemical industry."

Posted by Eric at 01:03 PM | Comments (15)

Europeans Shall Love Us More

Because we love them like a fat kid loves broccoli:

A report released by a House committee describes how the Bush administration worked with the U.S. chemical industry to undermine a European plan that would require all manufacturers to test their industrial chemicals for their effect on public health before they are marketed in Europe.
.
The administration had said publicly that the proposal last year would threaten the $20 billion in chemicals that the United States exports to Europe each year because the cost of testing would be prohibitive. Five years in the making, the proposal, which was revised and is still under consideration, would shift the burden of proving the safety of chemicals onto manufacturers instead of governments.
.
Behind the scenes, the administration was working with the chemical industry to devise a plan to undermine the proposal, according to e-mail messages and documents in the report, which was released Thursday
If you want to view the report, go here.

Rep. Waxman: "There is no evidence that the administration ever attempted to determine what was best for the nation as a whole," Waxman said. "The administration ignored requests to analyze what the benefits of the European proposal might have been and dismissed the concerns of environmental and public health groups. ... The only views that mattered were those of the chemical industry."

Posted by Eric at 01:03 PM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2004

Now Poland?

Spain said it was misled and may pull troops. Is Poland and its fleet of submarines with screen doors next? AP:

President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a key Washington ally, said Thursday he may withdraw troops early from Iraq and that Poland was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

His remarks to a small group of European reporters were his first hint of criticism about war in Iraq, where Poland currently has 2,400 troops and with the United States and Britain commands one of three sectors of the U.S.-led occupation.

"Naturally, one may protest the reasons for the war action in Iraq. I personally think that today, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein," Kwasniewski told the European reporters.

"But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction," he said, according to a transcript released by the presidential press office.

Posted by Eric at 02:29 PM | Comments (32)

Now Poland?

Spain said it was misled and may pull troops. Is Poland and its fleet of submarines with screen doors next? AP:

President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a key Washington ally, said Thursday he may withdraw troops early from Iraq and that Poland was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

His remarks to a small group of European reporters were his first hint of criticism about war in Iraq, where Poland currently has 2,400 troops and with the United States and Britain commands one of three sectors of the U.S.-led occupation.

"Naturally, one may protest the reasons for the war action in Iraq. I personally think that today, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein," Kwasniewski told the European reporters.

"But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction," he said, according to a transcript released by the presidential press office.

Posted by Eric at 02:29 PM | Comments (7)

March 17, 2004

Dozens Dead in Another Iraq Attack

AP.

Posted by Eric at 01:42 PM | Comments (9)

Dozens Dead in Another Iraq Attack

AP.

Posted by Eric at 01:42 PM | Comments (3)

March 15, 2004

Cross-Off Spain

The newest member of the 'Coalition of the Willing':

Spain's prime minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed to withdraw troops from Iraq and criticized US President George W. Bush after Spanish voters ousted governing conservatives who took the country into the controversial war.

"The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster," Zapatero, 43, told Cadena Ser radio on Monday ... Voters turned out in force for Sunday's elections. Many of them expressed anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar when he cast his ballot, jostling and booing him while some shouted "Aznar: your war, our dead."

Zapatero, whose Socialist Party ended eight years of rule by Aznar's Popular Party (PP) after winning 43 percent of the ballots to the PP's 38 percent, said near-total public opposition to the Iraq war had been key.

Posted by Eric at 05:37 PM | Comments (43)

Cross-Off Spain

The newest member of the 'Coalition of the Willing':

Spain's prime minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed to withdraw troops from Iraq and criticized US President George W. Bush after Spanish voters ousted governing conservatives who took the country into the controversial war.

"The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster," Zapatero, 43, told Cadena Ser radio on Monday ... Voters turned out in force for Sunday's elections. Many of them expressed anger at retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar when he cast his ballot, jostling and booing him while some shouted "Aznar: your war, our dead."

Zapatero, whose Socialist Party ended eight years of rule by Aznar's Popular Party (PP) after winning 43 percent of the ballots to the PP's 38 percent, said near-total public opposition to the Iraq war had been key.

Posted by Eric at 05:37 PM | Comments (15)

March 12, 2004

WWE Audition Night at Korean Assembly

Oh Koreans ^_^. LA Times:

In a historic first for South Korea, the National Assembly voted today to impeach President Roh Moo Hyun after a trivial political spat snowballed into a crisis that in effect paralyzed governance of the nation.

Pro- and anti-Roh lawmakers traded blows and wrestled on the floor of the assembly as the votes were counted ... With the decorum of a kindergarten class, some of the nation's leading politicians mostly middle-aged men in somber suits pushed and shoved and threw paper and furniture. Roh supporters screamed that the assembly was staging a "coup d'etat."

One legislator fainted. Others burst into tears. Pro-Roh legislators joined hands and sang the national anthem as they were dragged out.

Later, the Uri Party issued a statement saying that all of its 42 members in the assembly were resigning.

Hours before the vote this morning, Roh issued a statement pleading for restraint and apologizing to the South Korean people for an incident last month in which he was accused of violating election regulations.

More seriously, the Korean political fight has implications not only for the country, but US foreign policy as well, notes the WPost:
Roh Moo Hyun's fate and how South Koreans react to it, analysts say, has ramifications for a host of issues important to Washington, including the restructuring of 37,000 U.S. military personnel now based in South Korea, the talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the future of the still fragile economic recovery in Asia's fourth largest economy.
In case you were wondering, this is what Roh did:
The key charge against Roh is that he made a public statement asking voters to support the Uri Party -- made up of his core supporters -- in the April 15 elections for the National Assembly, currently controlled by the opposition. South Korean presidents are not allowed to campaign for legislators, and the presidential plug was deemed a minor infraction by the National Electoral Commission.

Posted by Eric at 07:08 PM | Comments (16)

WWE Audition Night at Korean Assembly

Oh Koreans ^_^. LA Times:

In a historic first for South Korea, the National Assembly voted today to impeach President Roh Moo Hyun after a trivial political spat snowballed into a crisis that in effect paralyzed governance of the nation.

Pro- and anti-Roh lawmakers traded blows and wrestled on the floor of the assembly as the votes were counted ... With the decorum of a kindergarten class, some of the nation's leading politicians mostly middle-aged men in somber suits pushed and shoved and threw paper and furniture. Roh supporters screamed that the assembly was staging a "coup d'etat."

One legislator fainted. Others burst into tears. Pro-Roh legislators joined hands and sang the national anthem as they were dragged out.

Later, the Uri Party issued a statement saying that all of its 42 members in the assembly were resigning.

Hours before the vote this morning, Roh issued a statement pleading for restraint and apologizing to the South Korean people for an incident last month in which he was accused of violating election regulations.

More seriously, the Korean political fight has implications not only for the country, but US foreign policy as well, notes the WPost:
Roh Moo Hyun's fate and how South Koreans react to it, analysts say, has ramifications for a host of issues important to Washington, including the restructuring of 37,000 U.S. military personnel now based in South Korea, the talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the future of the still fragile economic recovery in Asia's fourth largest economy.
In case you were wondering, this is what Roh did:
The key charge against Roh is that he made a public statement asking voters to support the Uri Party -- made up of his core supporters -- in the April 15 elections for the National Assembly, currently controlled by the opposition. South Korean presidents are not allowed to campaign for legislators, and the presidential plug was deemed a minor infraction by the National Electoral Commission.

Posted by Eric at 07:08 PM | Comments (7)

More Halliburton Follies

Ah yes, while Halliburton overcharges for its services, it still can't find the time to pay its tab, which could lead to more disservice for troops overseas. From the Federal Times:

Halliburton celebrates serving hot meals to U.S. troops in Iraq in television commercials, but one subcontractor responsible for preparing the food says soldiers there may soon be eating cold sandwiches because Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root isnt paying its bills. A Utah-based caterer, Event Source, claims that KBR has racked up an unpaid $87 million tab for meals it has served to soldiers in Baghdad and Mosul since November. The company plans to continue serving food at dining facilities it helped build, but it needs either to get paid or cut expenses, said Phil Morrell, who founded Event Source to serve security troops during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Its not something I want to do, but I just want to get paid, Morrell said. My company is getting ripped apart.

Other subcontractors in Iraq working for KBR share similar complaints, he said, although he declined to name any.

Im just the squeaky wheel, he said. I dont know what else to do to get paid.

Halliburton is in Iraq, of course, after a rigorous process during which many companies were considered, but Halliburton (despite its lack of connections with the White House) barely squeaked past the tough competition.

Posted by Eric at 05:26 PM | Comments (11)

More Halliburton Follies

Ah yes, while Halliburton overcharges for its services, it still can't find the time to pay its tab, which could lead to more disservice for troops overseas. From the Federal Times:

Halliburton celebrates serving hot meals to U.S. troops in Iraq in television commercials, but one subcontractor responsible for preparing the food says soldiers there may soon be eating cold sandwiches because Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root isnt paying its bills. A Utah-based caterer, Event Source, claims that KBR has racked up an unpaid $87 million tab for meals it has served to soldiers in Baghdad and Mosul since November. The company plans to continue serving food at dining facilities it helped build, but it needs either to get paid or cut expenses, said Phil Morrell, who founded Event Source to serve security troops during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Its not something I want to do, but I just want to get paid, Morrell said. My company is getting ripped apart.

Other subcontractors in Iraq working for KBR share similar complaints, he said, although he declined to name any.

Im just the squeaky wheel, he said. I dont know what else to do to get paid.

Halliburton is in Iraq, of course, after a rigorous process during which many companies were considered, but Halliburton (despite its lack of connections with the White House) barely squeaked past the tough competition.

Posted by Eric at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

WPost: Pentagon Auditors Find "significant discrepancies" with Halliburton Subsidiary

In other news, the sun came up. Please, contain your shock and awe about the business practices of Halliburton. Washington Post:

A January audit memo, which the House Government Reform Committee released, said the auditors found that Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. could not substantiate cost estimates that it passed on to the government.

The hearing, the first to review the rebuilding effort in Iraq, included a review of charges that KBR overpaid to bring fuel into Iraq and overcharged for meals it never served at dining facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. Only government officials, not contractors, were invited to testify ... William H. Reed, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, said many of the company's problems have resulted from a lack of documentation for how it bid and charged for subcontract work. "They simply were not following what we considered reasonable business practice to award bids," he said, "At least we couldn't tell . . . by the documentation."

Henry Waxman is one of the Democrats who is hammering the Halliburton folks for overpricing and other misdeeds.

Posted by Eric at 02:25 AM | Comments (38)

WPost: Pentagon Auditors Find "significant discrepancies" with Halliburton Subsidiary

In other news, the sun came up. Please, contain your shock and awe about the business practices of Halliburton. Washington Post:

A January audit memo, which the House Government Reform Committee released, said the auditors found that Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. could not substantiate cost estimates that it passed on to the government.

The hearing, the first to review the rebuilding effort in Iraq, included a review of charges that KBR overpaid to bring fuel into Iraq and overcharged for meals it never served at dining facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. Only government officials, not contractors, were invited to testify ... William H. Reed, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, said many of the company's problems have resulted from a lack of documentation for how it bid and charged for subcontract work. "They simply were not following what we considered reasonable business practice to award bids," he said, "At least we couldn't tell . . . by the documentation."

Henry Waxman is one of the Democrats who is hammering the Halliburton folks for overpricing and other misdeeds.

Posted by Eric at 02:25 AM | Comments (6)

March 05, 2004

Europe 2003 Likely Hottest in 500 Years

Evidence of global warming caused by fossil fuel burning? Perhaps, but the study didn't "attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find." And this is what they found, AP:

In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.

During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record.

Starting in 1977, the record shows "an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming," the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade.

Then came last summer.

"The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," the study said. "Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500."

Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

Posted by Eric at 11:52 AM | Comments (8)

Europe 2003 Likely Hottest in 500 Years

Evidence of global warming caused by fossil fuel burning? Perhaps, but the study didn't "attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find." And this is what they found, AP:

In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.

During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record.

Starting in 1977, the record shows "an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming," the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade.

Then came last summer.

"The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," the study said. "Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500."

Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

Posted by Eric at 11:52 AM | Comments (9)

March 03, 2004

David Kay to Bush: "come clean with the American people"

David Kay, by no means a partisan, is pulling out the Hillary Duff lyrics and telling President Bush to 'come clean':

David Kay, the man who led the CIA's postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has called on the Bush administration to "come clean with the American people" and admit it was wrong about the existence of the weapons.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Kay said the administration's reluctance to make that admission was delaying essential reforms of US intelligence agencies, and further undermining its credibility at home and abroad.

He welcomed the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate prewar intelligence on Iraq, and said the wide-ranging US investigation was much more likely to get to the truth than the Butler inquiry in Britain. That, he noted, had "so many limitations it's going to be almost impossible" to come to meaningful conclusions.

Posted by Eric at 11:52 AM | Comments (9)

David Kay to Bush: "come clean with the American people"

David Kay, by no means a partisan, is pulling out the Hillary Duff lyrics and telling President Bush to 'come clean':

David Kay, the man who led the CIA's postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has called on the Bush administration to "come clean with the American people" and admit it was wrong about the existence of the weapons.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Kay said the administration's reluctance to make that admission was delaying essential reforms of US intelligence agencies, and further undermining its credibility at home and abroad.

He welcomed the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate prewar intelligence on Iraq, and said the wide-ranging US investigation was much more likely to get to the truth than the Butler inquiry in Britain. That, he noted, had "so many limitations it's going to be almost impossible" to come to meaningful conclusions.

Posted by Eric at 11:52 AM | Comments (3)

Fewer Supporting Iraq War

From Scripps-Howard:

The latest poll, conducted the final two weeks of February, found 28 percent "absolutely certain" it was the "correct thing to do" to "send troops into Iraq to force it to disarm its weapons of mass destruction," down from 41 percent in May immediately after Bush declared an end to major military operations in Iraq.

Twenty-two percent said they were "pretty certain," down from 25 percent in May; 47 percent said "not certain," up from 31 percent in May.

Posted by Eric at 09:18 AM | Comments (9)

Fewer Supporting Iraq War

From Scripps-Howard:

The latest poll, conducted the final two weeks of February, found 28 percent "absolutely certain" it was the "correct thing to do" to "send troops into Iraq to force it to disarm its weapons of mass destruction," down from 41 percent in May immediately after Bush declared an end to major military operations in Iraq.

Twenty-two percent said they were "pretty certain," down from 25 percent in May; 47 percent said "not certain," up from 31 percent in May.

Posted by Eric at 09:18 AM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2004

125+ Dead in Iraq Attacks

"bloodiest day since the end of major fighting."

Posted by Eric at 09:12 AM | Comments (6)

125+ Dead in Iraq Attacks

"bloodiest day since the end of major fighting."

Posted by Eric at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Aristide says U.S. 'coup' forced him out

Aristide told CNN's Anderson Cooper that there was a "coup d'etat" by the United States.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Monday he was forced to leave Haiti in a "coup d'etat" by the United States.

"I was told that to avoid bloodshed I'd better leave," he said in an interview on CNN.

Earlier, the Bush administration vigorously denied that Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. troops, which is what two U.S. members of Congress said the deposed Haitian president told them in telephone calls.

"That's nonsense," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "I've seen some of the reports [and they] do nothing to help the Haitians move forward to a better, more prosperous future."

Stay tuned ...

Posted by Eric at 07:52 PM | Comments (8)

Aristide says U.S. 'coup' forced him out

Aristide told CNN's Anderson Cooper that there was a "coup d'etat" by the United States.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Monday he was forced to leave Haiti in a "coup d'etat" by the United States.

"I was told that to avoid bloodshed I'd better leave," he said in an interview on CNN.

Earlier, the Bush administration vigorously denied that Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. troops, which is what two U.S. members of Congress said the deposed Haitian president told them in telephone calls.

"That's nonsense," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "I've seen some of the reports [and they] do nothing to help the Haitians move forward to a better, more prosperous future."

Stay tuned ...

Posted by Eric at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

February 26, 2004

Spy Games

Brits looking at the UN.

Posted by Eric at 01:27 PM | Comments (34)

Spy Games

Brits looking at the UN.

Posted by Eric at 01:27 PM | Comments (8)

February 20, 2004

Battlefield Casualties

Though we often hear about casualties in Iraq, we don't learn about two other trends happening: wounded and suicides. The Center for American Progress with more:

CASUALTIES OF WAR: The difficult nature of the ongoing war in Iraq the first prolonged ground war since Vietnam - and the increasing violence is hitting American troops. Since the war began last March, there have been 545 troops killed in Iraq. And now, it turns out, there have been more wounded: Wednesday, Walter Reed Army Medical Center announced that, due to a change in compilation process, "it had revised upward by as much as 10% the number of patients and battlefield casualties it has treated...As of Wednesday, Walter Reed had treated 2,775 patients from the Iraq war 175 more than it had previously reported. Of the new total, 476 were classified as battle casualties, meaning their injuries were caused by 'enemy action.' That is 40 more battle casualties than Walter Reed had previously reported."

STEMMING SUICIDES: Equally troubling, the WP reported yesterday that the number of suicides is up in Iraq, although the Pentagon remains "tight-lipped." There were 22 suicides among troops in Iraq last year, a rate about 20% higher than average. Thus far, the military has been particularly quiet on the subject. "The military's emphasis on honor, valor and courage makes suicide perhaps one of its last taboos. The Pentagon does not publicly identify a soldier's death as a suicide but may classify it as a 'non-hostile gunshot wound,' or death from 'non-hostile injuries,' which can also include accidents such as negligent discharge of a weapon. In comparison, the Pentagon will release a description of the cause of death -- enemy fire, a land mine, a car crash -- for a soldier killed in action or as a result of an accident." More details are to come, though, as "the Pentagon plans to release the findings of a team sent to Iraq last fall to investigate the mental health of the troops, including suicides."

But we got the WMD, so it's ok.

Posted by Eric at 11:49 AM | Comments (55)

Battlefield Casualties

Though we often hear about casualties in Iraq, we don't learn about two other trends happening: wounded and suicides. The Center for American Progress with more:

CASUALTIES OF WAR: The difficult nature of the ongoing war in Iraq the first prolonged ground war since Vietnam - and the increasing violence is hitting American troops. Since the war began last March, there have been 545 troops killed in Iraq. And now, it turns out, there have been more wounded: Wednesday, Walter Reed Army Medical Center announced that, due to a change in compilation process, "it had revised upward by as much as 10% the number of patients and battlefield casualties it has treated...As of Wednesday, Walter Reed had treated 2,775 patients from the Iraq war 175 more than it had previously reported. Of the new total, 476 were classified as battle casualties, meaning their injuries were caused by 'enemy action.' That is 40 more battle casualties than Walter Reed had previously reported."

STEMMING SUICIDES: Equally troubling, the WP reported yesterday that the number of suicides is up in Iraq, although the Pentagon remains "tight-lipped." There were 22 suicides among troops in Iraq last year, a rate about 20% higher than average. Thus far, the military has been particularly quiet on the subject. "The military's emphasis on honor, valor and courage makes suicide perhaps one of its last taboos. The Pentagon does not publicly identify a soldier's death as a suicide but may classify it as a 'non-hostile gunshot wound,' or death from 'non-hostile injuries,' which can also include accidents such as negligent discharge of a weapon. In comparison, the Pentagon will release a description of the cause of death -- enemy fire, a land mine, a car crash -- for a soldier killed in action or as a result of an accident." More details are to come, though, as "the Pentagon plans to release the findings of a team sent to Iraq last fall to investigate the mental health of the troops, including suicides."

But we got the WMD, so it's ok.

Posted by Eric at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

Bin Laden Not on "no-fly list"

According to Insight Mag. I'll go out on a limb here, risking all credibility, but I say: PUT HIM ON. Thank you, vote for Hamster, Natural Law Party candidate for President.

Imagine if the world's most notorious fugitive, Osama bin Laden, attempted to board an airliner in the United States. Suppose he were clean-shaven, sporting short hair, wearing a pinstriped business suit and looked like so many other travelers that no suspicions were raised. How far might he get? If he used aliases such as names of family members, he would be nabbed instantly and whisked away for questioning. That's because many of his relatives are on the FBI's secret "no-fly list," according to intelligence sources.

But suppose he boldly decided to use his own name. Would he be cleared to fly? Insight recently learned that scenario was tested at a U.S. airport in the South during January. The result was troubling: America's most-wanted fugitive is cleared to fly. According to airline-security documents obtained by this magazine, the name Osama bin Laden was punched into the computer by an airline official and, remarkably, that name was cleared at the security checkpoint all passengers must pass through before being issued a boarding pass.

Obviously, I don't think Osama bin Laden would be stupid enough - in the very unlikely case he ever boarded an American airline - to use his own name. But it does seem like a silly, ironic oversight.

Posted by Eric at 02:01 AM | Comments (70)

Bin Laden Not on "no-fly list"

According to Insight Mag. I'll go out on a limb here, risking all credibility, but I say: PUT HIM ON. Thank you, vote for Hamster, Natural Law Party candidate for President.

Imagine if the world's most notorious fugitive, Osama bin Laden, attempted to board an airliner in the United States. Suppose he were clean-shaven, sporting short hair, wearing a pinstriped business suit and looked like so many other travelers that no suspicions were raised. How far might he get? If he used aliases such as names of family members, he would be nabbed instantly and whisked away for questioning. That's because many of his relatives are on the FBI's secret "no-fly list," according to intelligence sources.

But suppose he boldly decided to use his own name. Would he be cleared to fly? Insight recently learned that scenario was tested at a U.S. airport in the South during January. The result was troubling: America's most-wanted fugitive is cleared to fly. According to airline-security documents obtained by this magazine, the name Osama bin Laden was punched into the computer by an airline official and, remarkably, that name was cleared at the security checkpoint all passengers must pass through before being issued a boarding pass.

Obviously, I don't think Osama bin Laden would be stupid enough - in the very unlikely case he ever boarded an American airline - to use his own name. But it does seem like a silly, ironic oversight.

Posted by Eric at 02:01 AM | Comments (3)

February 19, 2004

Two more American soldiers killed in Iraq

On Thursday, from AP:

Insurgents killed two American soldiers Thursday in a roadside bombing west of Baghdad as the United States was reportedly ready to make major changes in its blueprint for handing over power to a new Iraqi government.

The bombing occurred near Khaldiyah, 50 miles west of the capital, according to the U.S. command. Two soldiers from Task Force All-American were killed, along with at least one Iraqi, the command said. One U.S. soldier was wounded.

Thursday at an American convoy in Khaldiyah but the projectile missed, witnesses said.

Those deaths brought to 545 the number of American service members who have died since President Bush launched the Iraq war on March 20. Most of the deaths have occurred after Bush declared an end to active combat May 1.

Posted by Eric at 08:47 AM | Comments (157)

Two more American soldiers killed in Iraq

On Thursday, from AP:

Insurgents killed two American soldiers Thursday in a roadside bombing west of Baghdad as the United States was reportedly ready to make major changes in its blueprint for handing over power to a new Iraqi government.

The bombing occurred near Khaldiyah, 50 miles west of the capital, according to the U.S. command. Two soldiers from Task Force All-American were killed, along with at least one Iraqi, the command said. One U.S. soldier was wounded.

Thursday at an American convoy in Khaldiyah but the projectile missed, witnesses said.

Those deaths brought to 545 the number of American service members who have died since President Bush launched the Iraq war on March 20. Most of the deaths have occurred after Bush declared an end to active combat May 1.

Posted by Eric at 08:47 AM | Comments (6)

February 16, 2004

Civil War Increasingly Possible in Iraq

Tensions between warring factions are leading to speculation that civil war could eventually break out in the region:

Veteran U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who just finished a visit to the country, pointedly warned Iraqi leaders they face "very serious dangers" if they do not put the interests of the nation ahead of those of their clans, tribes, ethnic groups and religious communities.

"I have appealed to the members of the Governing Council and to Iraqis in every part of Iraqi to be conscious that civil wars do not happen because a person makes a decision, 'Today, I'm going to start a civil war,"' Brahimi told a news conference on Friday at the end of a mission to discuss ways of setting up an empowered Iraqi government.

Brahimi, who helped mediate civil conflicts in Lebanon and Yemen, told Iraqis that civil wars erupt "because people are reckless, people are selfish, because people think more of themselves than they do of their country."

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed that civil war was possible, citing conflicts that erupted in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union after the collapse of Communist authoritarian rule.

Adding to the problem are recent suicide attacks against Iraqis cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition.

Posted by Eric at 04:36 AM | Comments (5)

Civil War Increasingly Possible in Iraq

Tensions between warring factions are leading to speculation that civil war could eventually break out in the region:

Veteran U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who just finished a visit to the country, pointedly warned Iraqi leaders they face "very serious dangers" if they do not put the interests of the nation ahead of those of their clans, tribes, ethnic groups and religious communities.

"I have appealed to the members of the Governing Council and to Iraqis in every part of Iraqi to be conscious that civil wars do not happen because a person makes a decision, 'Today, I'm going to start a civil war,"' Brahimi told a news conference on Friday at the end of a mission to discuss ways of setting up an empowered Iraqi government.

Brahimi, who helped mediate civil conflicts in Lebanon and Yemen, told Iraqis that civil wars erupt "because people are reckless, people are selfish, because people think more of themselves than they do of their country."

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed that civil war was possible, citing conflicts that erupted in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union after the collapse of Communist authoritarian rule.

Adding to the problem are recent suicide attacks against Iraqis cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition.

Posted by Eric at 04:36 AM | Comments (3)

February 11, 2004

More Bush Budget Woes: US Military May Run Out of Money

From the UPI and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker:

The military will have no money to pay for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for three months beginning Oct. 1 because the White House is declining to ask Congress for funding until December or January, well after the presidential election.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker told the Senate Armed Services Committee the $38 billion he has for 2004 war operations will last only until the end of September, as he spends $3.7 billion a month in Iraq and about $900 million a month in Afghanistan. The Army has about 114,000 soldiers in Iraq and roughly 10,000 in Afghanistan.

"I am concerned on how we bridge between the end of this fiscal year and when we can get a supplemental in the next fiscal year," Schoomaker told the committee.

Posted by Eric at 03:41 PM | Comments (15)

More Bush Budget Woes: US Military May Run Out of Money

From the UPI and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker:

The military will have no money to pay for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for three months beginning Oct. 1 because the White House is declining to ask Congress for funding until December or January, well after the presidential election.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker told the Senate Armed Services Committee the $38 billion he has for 2004 war operations will last only until the end of September, as he spends $3.7 billion a month in Iraq and about $900 million a month in Afghanistan. The Army has about 114,000 soldiers in Iraq and roughly 10,000 in Afghanistan.

"I am concerned on how we bridge between the end of this fiscal year and when we can get a supplemental in the next fiscal year," Schoomaker told the committee.

Posted by Eric at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2004

Dozens Dead in Iraq Attacks

"49 people were killed and 150 more wounded in three attacks Tuesday on Iraqi police targets"

Posted by Eric at 01:59 PM | Comments (14)

Dozens Dead in Iraq Attacks

"49 people were killed and 150 more wounded in three attacks Tuesday on Iraqi police targets"

Posted by Eric at 01:59 PM | Comments (4)

February 09, 2004

Opium Trade Flourishes in Afghanistan

According to Sergie Ivanov in The Guardian, Afghanistan's producing nine times the amount of opium than it did under the Taliban

"It is understandable that by allowing drug peddling in Afghanistan, the [Nato] alliance ensures loyalty of warlords on the ground and of some Afghan leaders," he said.

"Nevertheless, the drug flow from Afghanistan is posing a serious threat to the national security of all of the central Asian CIS [confederation of independent states] and Russia. It results from the absence of a truly international approach toward stabilisation in Afghanistan."

Mr Ivanov was speaking at an international security conference in Munich where Nato countries, including Britain, debated whether to increase their military presence in Afghanistan.

His comments came as at least 20 people were reported killed and 40 wounded in north-eastern Afghanistan in clashes over the payment of taxes on the opium poppy crop.

Posted by Eric at 05:42 AM | Comments (68)

Opium Trade Flourishes in Afghanistan

According to Sergie Ivanov in The Guardian, Afghanistan's producing nine times the amount of opium than it did under the Taliban

"It is understandable that by allowing drug peddling in Afghanistan, the [Nato] alliance ensures loyalty of warlords on the ground and of some Afghan leaders," he said.

"Nevertheless, the drug flow from Afghanistan is posing a serious threat to the national security of all of the central Asian CIS [confederation of independent states] and Russia. It results from the absence of a truly international approach toward stabilisation in Afghanistan."

Mr Ivanov was speaking at an international security conference in Munich where Nato countries, including Britain, debated whether to increase their military presence in Afghanistan.

His comments came as at least 20 people were reported killed and 40 wounded in north-eastern Afghanistan in clashes over the payment of taxes on the opium poppy crop.

Posted by Eric at 05:42 AM | Comments (1)

January 31, 2004

Saturday Brings At Least 18 Deaths in Iraq

According to Reuters:

The U.S. military said three U.S. soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb blew up next to a convoy traveling between Kirkuk and Tikrit, the hometown of ousted leader Saddam Hussein 175 km north of Baghdad.

The deaths brought to 364 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since the start of the Iraq war last March. Including non-combat deaths, the toll is 522.

Soldiers and policemen in Baghdad gave conflicting accounts of the first blast in Baghdad's Baladiyyat district, some saying it was mortar fire and others rockets. A father and son who ran a kiosk nearby were killed, sources at a hospital said.

Guerrillas have often struck on significant dates -- a car bomb destroyed a Baghdad restaurant on New Year's Eve, killing eight, and on October 27, the first day of Ramadan, coordinated suicide attacks in Baghdad killed at least 35.

Posted by Eric at 08:39 PM | Comments (24)

Saturday Brings At Least 18 Deaths in Iraq

According to Reuters:

The U.S. military said three U.S. soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb blew up next to a convoy traveling between Kirkuk and Tikrit, the hometown of ousted leader Saddam Hussein 175 km north of Baghdad.

The deaths brought to 364 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since the start of the Iraq war last March. Including non-combat deaths, the toll is 522.

Soldiers and policemen in Baghdad gave conflicting accounts of the first blast in Baghdad's Baladiyyat district, some saying it was mortar fire and others rockets. A father and son who ran a kiosk nearby were killed, sources at a hospital said.

Guerrillas have often struck on significant dates -- a car bomb destroyed a Baghdad restaurant on New Year's Eve, killing eight, and on October 27, the first day of Ramadan, coordinated suicide attacks in Baghdad killed at least 35.

Posted by Eric at 08:39 PM | Comments (4)

January 18, 2004

At Least 18 Dead in Latest Iraq Attack

Just this morning:

At least 28 people, including six Americans, were wounded by the blast, which occurred at about 8 a.m. near the "Assassin's Gate" to Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace complex, now used by the U.S.-led occupation authority for headquarters. The gate is used by hundreds of Iraqis employed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the formal name of the U.S.-led occupation authorities, as well as U.S. military vehicles.

The 18 dead included 16 Iraqi civilians and two American civilians, the U.S. military press office said. The wounded included 22 Iraqi civilians, four American civilians and two U.S. soldiers, the press office said.

Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, deputy commander of the 1st Armored Division, said the blast was caused by one suicide bomber driving a car.

"It certainly was a vehicle-borne bomb, suicide bomb. There was evidently someone in the car," Hertling told CNN International.

Posted by Eric at 04:30 AM | Comments (7)

At Least 18 Dead in Latest Iraq Attack

Just this morning:

At least 28 people, including six Americans, were wounded by the blast, which occurred at about 8 a.m. near the "Assassin's Gate" to Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace complex, now used by the U.S.-led occupation authority for headquarters. The gate is used by hundreds of Iraqis employed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the formal name of the U.S.-led occupation authorities, as well as U.S. military vehicles.

The 18 dead included 16 Iraqi civilians and two American civilians, the U.S. military press office said. The wounded included 22 Iraqi civilians, four American civilians and two U.S. soldiers, the press office said.

Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling, deputy commander of the 1st Armored Division, said the blast was caused by one suicide bomber driving a car.

"It certainly was a vehicle-borne bomb, suicide bomb. There was evidently someone in the car," Hertling told CNN International.

Posted by Eric at 04:30 AM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2004

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Iraq Mortar Attack Wounds 35 U.S. Soldiers

Six mortar rounds exploded about 6:45 p.m. at Logistical Base Seitz west of Baghdad. From the AP:

"The wounded soldiers were given first aid and have been evacuated from the site for further medical treatment," the statement said. The Pentagon added that the soldiers were from the Army's 541st Maintenance Battalion, based in Fort Riley, Kan., and part of the 3rd Corps Support Command.

The mortars hit "a living area where they have their sleeping quarters," the spokesman said.

A Pentagon spokesman said that some of those wounded returned to duty shortly after the attack, while others were hospitalized. The spokesman, Lt. Col. James Cassella, said he did not know how many were seriously or lightly wounded.

Posted by Eric at 07:20 PM | Comments (199)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Iraq Mortar Attack Wounds 35 U.S. Soldiers

Six mortar rounds exploded about 6:45 p.m. at Logistical Base Seitz west of Baghdad. From the AP:

"The wounded soldiers were given first aid and have been evacuated from the site for further medical treatment," the statement said. The Pentagon added that the soldiers were from the Army's 541st Maintenance Battalion, based in Fort Riley, Kan., and part of the 3rd Corps Support Command.

The mortars hit "a living area where they have their sleeping quarters," the spokesman said.

A Pentagon spokesman said that some of those wounded returned to duty shortly after the attack, while others were hospitalized. The spokesman, Lt. Col. James Cassella, said he did not know how many were seriously or lightly wounded.

Posted by Eric at 07:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2004

UnAmerican Al Franken Entertains Troops

And talked with CNN about it.


CROWLEY: That must have been quite a trip. It was a feel-good trip for you?

FRANKEN: It was my fourth USO tour. This is the first one in a really active theater of battle. I've been to Kosovo three times. But this was -- we went to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan -- and it was great. And I always love doing it.

The troops really appreciate it, and I sort of set aside all political kind of stuff and do like a Bob Hope type of show.

CROWLEY: I was going to ask you that because unlike some comedians you are so well-known for your political views as well. Do you find that interferes at all, or are they just glad to have you there?

FRANKEN: They are glad to have me there. And also, I just -- my opening joke usually was, "Anybody here from out of town?" And then, you know, "This Army grub, it doesn't agree with me. I've had three MREs -- those are meals ready to eat -- and none of them seem to have an exit strategy."

So it's a different kind of humor I do, but every, you know, I had a number of soldiers come up to me and say, "I don't agree with you politically, but I so appreciate you coming." And they really do.

We had an urban, girl trio, singing group, and their manager -- we did a show in the hangar in Baghdad where the president had served Thanksgiving dinner -- and a soldier went up to the manager of these girls and said, "It's really an honor to meet you," and the manager said, "You don't understand, I'm just the manager of these girls."

And he [the soldier] said, "No, no, you don't understand. I'm a soldier. I had to be here. I met President Bush a few weeks ago. He's the president, and he really should come here. You don't have to be here. You came here because you care, and I -- so it's more of an honor to meet you." And that -- it's just that kind of feeling. And also, you get a feeling, as you know, a troop of traveling show folk as you are going around.

Posted by Eric at 01:03 AM | Comments (39)

UnAmerican Al Franken Entertains Troops

And talked with CNN about it.


CROWLEY: That must have been quite a trip. It was a feel-good trip for you?

FRANKEN: It was my fourth USO tour. This is the first one in a really active theater of battle. I've been to Kosovo three times. But this was -- we went to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan -- and it was great. And I always love doing it.

The troops really appreciate it, and I sort of set aside all political kind of stuff and do like a Bob Hope type of show.

CROWLEY: I was going to ask you that because unlike some comedians you are so well-known for your political views as well. Do you find that interferes at all, or are they just glad to have you there?

FRANKEN: They are glad to have me there. And also, I just -- my opening joke usually was, "Anybody here from out of town?" And then, you know, "This Army grub, it doesn't agree with me. I've had three MREs -- those are meals ready to eat -- and none of them seem to have an exit strategy."

So it's a different kind of humor I do, but every, you know, I had a number of soldiers come up to me and say, "I don't agree with you politically, but I so appreciate you coming." And they really do.

We had an urban, girl trio, singing group, and their manager -- we did a show in the hangar in Baghdad where the president had served Thanksgiving dinner -- and a soldier went up to the manager of these girls and said, "It's really an honor to meet you," and the manager said, "You don't understand, I'm just the manager of these girls."

And he [the soldier] said, "No, no, you don't understand. I'm a soldier. I had to be here. I met President Bush a few weeks ago. He's the president, and he really should come here. You don't have to be here. You came here because you care, and I -- so it's more of an honor to meet you." And that -- it's just that kind of feeling. And also, you get a feeling, as you know, a troop of traveling show folk as you are going around.

Posted by Eric at 01:03 AM | Comments (7)