Sunday, December 31, 2006
Knowing that he's killed yet another man tonight.
And torment him as he sleeps, until he sits and screams.
But, we can and will learn what awaits Bush over here.
But for Bush, the war still lingers - full of infamy and shame.
In a statement written in advance of Saddam's hanging, Bush warned that his death "will not end the violence in Iraq"--truer words have not been spoken. No longer Iraq's ruler, since his capture Saddam had become a symbol of the power struggle between the Shiite Arab religious parties that have come to rule parts of Baghdad and southern Iraq and the growing, Sunni-led resistance army that controls most of several provinces to the north and west of the capital, along with significant swaths of western Baghdad.
Published: 31 December 2006
April 18, 2005
The ceaseless demonization of Iraqis committed to ending foreign control of their country is a key ideological crutch for maintaining the American occupation. Smearing the armed resistance as a band of murderous thugs is well understood by American war planners to be a crucial part of effective counter-insurgency work. (1) Obviously, brutal and horrific attacks on Iraqi civilians have been carried out by some forces claiming to be a part of the resistance. But there is strong evidence from US government and independent intelligence data suggesting that this phenomenon has been wildly exaggerated and torn out of context, creating a false public perception that serves to prop up domestic support for the occupation.
Consider the intelligence report produced on December 22, 2004, by the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies, headed by Anthony Cordesman, titled “The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at end-2004.” (2) Cordesman issues a blunt critique of US government blindness about the scope and nature of the insurgency: “[The U.S.] was slow to react to the growth of the Iraqi insurgency in Iraq, to admit it was largely domestic in character, and to admit it had significant popular support.”
The most intriguing portion of the report, though, is a set of statistics compiled about attacks carried out by the resistance from September 2003 to October 2004, organized by type of target, number of attacks, and number of people killed and wounded. The data, described as having been collected by an “NGO coordinating committee” is organized into a table in the report. I have culled the data specifically concerning “number of attacks/incidents” and presented it as a chart graphic contained in the clickable link below: http://www.lefthook.org/Charts/CSIS.jpg
One can clearly see that the number of attacks on “Coalition Forces” far exceeds that of any other category on the list. Indeed, attacks on military occupying forces, and by extension mostly US military forces, accounts for 75% of all attacks. Meanwhile, civilian targets comprise a mere 4.1% of attacks. This reality is at striking odds with the general picture painted in the press of a narcissistic, mindless and sinister insurgency simply bent on chaos and destruction.
It should also be noted here that while the CSIS is widely recognized and Anthony Cordesman regularly appears in the mainstream press, not a single one of the usual liberal outlets has picked up on the report, mentioned this statistic in particular, or discussed its political implications. This is probably because it poses a threat to their pro-occupation line and White Man’s Burden philosophy which posits Iraqis as too helpless to save themselves. The only publication to have examined this now more than three-month-old document is the Marxist monthly International Socialist Review. (3)
It is not possible to dismiss the statistics as a fluke. An April 11th New York Times article titled “U.S. Commanders See Possible Troop Cuts in Iraq” is accompanied by a graph representing resistance attacks by number and by proportion for the period of March 2003 to March 2005, broken down into the following categories: attacks on U.S. and allied forces, civilians, Iraqi forces, and other targets. The source of the data is the Defense Intelligence Agency. Because there is no direct link for the graph and because the Times’ online graphic is somewhat blurry, I have sharpened the image and posted it here for reference, again as a clickable link: http://www.lefthook.org/Charts/NYTimes.jpg
Once more it is manifestly clear that attacks on civilians make up only a small fraction of overall attacks, on a consistent basis and over a sustained period of time. Notice also that even though the past few months has seen a massive effort to train new Iraqi security forces to fight the insurgency, the proportion of attacks aimed at the nascent US-trained Iraqi forces has hardly increased, if at all. Given that the formation of these new forces is largely composed along ethnic lines, the graph belies the notion that there has been some kind of massive outburst of sectarian attacks by the resistance.
Why have these developments gone largely unnoticed? One reason -- or rather, excuse -- is that even though military forces are the focus of an overwhelming majority of attacks, civilian casualties predominate. Looking at deaths and injures in the period examined by the CSIS report, we see that 451 “Coalition Forces” were killed and 1,002 injured, whereas 1,981 civilians were killed and 3,467 injured. The most obvious reason for this discrepancy is that bombing a group of Iraqi civilians in a marketplace will yield far more casualties than assaulting professionally trained soldiers backed by sophisticated military armor.
Cynical observers would insist that the discrepancy between distribution of attacks and casualties explains that distribution, as if there is some sort of overarching plot by the resistance to focus attacks on the military precisely because less resources are needed to kill civilians. Such a view assumes, first and foremost, a central, unified command structure, and that does not exist. It also assumes that insurgents who are motivated to carry out careful, coordinated attacks in ways specifically designed to minimize their chances of death would gladly blow themselves up in the suicide attacks which have characterized the most deadly assaults on civilians: a ridiculous proposition unless we assume the insurgents are also schizophrenics.
Far more likely is that nationalist currents within the resistance confront and attack US forces and other symbols of the occupation whereas fanatical, opportunistic elements on the margins conduct spectacular, sectarian attacks which invariably garner sensationalistic media coverage. Indeed, Patrick Cockburn’s recent April 11, 2005 report from Iraq bears out precisely this assessment. He writes: “The split is between Islamic fanatics, willing to kill anybody remotely connected with the government, and Iraqi nationalists who want to concentrate on attacking the 130,000 US troops in Iraq.” Noting that “Posters threatening extreme resistance fighters have appeared on walls in Ramadi,” Cockburn quotes a Ramadi Sunni imam as saying, “[The fanatics] have tarnished our image and used the jihad to make personal gains.” (4)
And these fanatics are generously aided in their endeavor by an American government all too eager to characterize the entire resistance as beyond the pale. US intelligence agents in Iraq have admitted, for instance, to paying people off to make up stories about the fanatically anti-Shiite sectarian Zarqawi:
“We were basically paying up to $US10,000 ($A13,700) a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq,” one agent said.
“Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one.” (5)
The assessment that most resistance forces are not engaging in sectarian and brutal attacks on civilians is further supported by a major political event. On April 9th, a group of mostly Shiite demonstrators numbering perhaps 300,000, according estimates cited by the LA Times, flowed into Firdos Square where Saddam’s statue was removed two years ago and vociferously demanded an end to the American presence in Iraq. In what Juan Cole describes as “the largest popular demonstrations in Iraq since 1958” (6) (assuming only 150,000 demonstrated), protesters burned Bush, Blair, and Saddam in effigy, chanting, “No, no to America! No, no to occupation!” One demonstrator captured the popular mood succinctly, declaring: “America is the mother of terrorism. All the explosions are happening because they are here.” (7)
Would such a massive number of Shiites have shown up to protest the occupation if they thought that most of the Sunni-based armed resistance, also opposed to the occupation, was trying to kill them? Indeed, a number of Sunnis joined the demonstrations, as some Sunni imams exhorted their followers to do so during Friday prayers. (8)
Ultimately, the combination of intelligence data, political realities on the ground, and some basic common sense point to the fact that the resistance is not the stereotypical horde of incompetent, crazed brown barbarians so often conjured up in the Western imagination. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can end the barbarism of the war itself.
M. Junaid Alam, 22, is co-editor of Left Hook http://www.lefthook.org , and attends Northeastern University in Boston. He can be reached at email@example.com
1. See the quote prefacing Mark Danner’s excellent article/report on Iraq, here: http://www.markdanner.com/nyreview/042805_Iraq_election.htm
4. The Independent
7. L.A. Times
8. http://www.rfi.fr/actufr/afp/une/050409200742.iw5ba5fq.asp (French)
Flippo is one of a handful of instructors here who belong to Company A, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. The instructors, who are three-quarters of the way through a yearlong deployment, are currently training more than three dozen Ethiopian army officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted from throughout the country.
Link To Article:
© 2006 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply
By Thomas J. Nagy
Published In The September 2001 Issue Of
Over the last two years, I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway.
The primary document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," is dated January 22, 1991. It spells out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens.
"Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline," the document states. "With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease."
The document goes into great technical detail about the sources and quality of Iraq's water supply. The quality of untreated water "generally is poor," and drinking such water "could result in diarrhea," the document says. It notes that Iraq's rivers "contain biological materials, pollutants, and are laden with bacteria. Unless the water is purified with chlorine, epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid could occur."
The document notes that the importation of chlorine "has been embargoed" by sanctions. "Recent reports indicate the chlorine supply is critically low."
Food and medicine will also be affected, the document states. "Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants," it says.
The document addresses possible Iraqi countermeasures to obtain drinkable water despite sanctions.
"Iraq conceivably could truck water from the mountain reservoirs to urban areas. But the capability to gain significant quantities is extremely limited," the document states. "The amount of pipe on hand and the lack of pumping stations would limit laying pipelines to these reservoirs. Moreover, without chlorine purification, the water still would contain biological pollutants. Some affluent Iraqis could obtain their own minimally adequate supply of good quality water from Northern Iraqi sources. If boiled, the water could be safely consumed. Poorer Iraqis and industries requiring large quantities of pure water would not be able to meet their needs."
The document also discounted the possibility of Iraqis using rainwater. "Precipitation occurs in Iraq during the winter and spring, but it falls primarily in the northern mountains," it says. "Sporadic rains, sometimes heavy, fall over the lower plains. But Iraq could not rely on rain to provide adequate pure water."
As an alternative, "Iraq could try convincing the United Nations or individual countries to exempt water treatment supplies from sanctions for humanitarian reasons," the document says. "It probably also is attempting to purchase supplies by using some sympathetic countries as fronts. If such attempts fail, Iraqi alternatives are not adequate for their national requirements."
In cold language, the document spells out what is in store: "Iraq will suffer increasing shortages of purified water because of the lack of required chemicals and desalination membranes. Incidences of disease, including possible epidemics, will become probable unless the population were careful to boil water."
The document gives a timetable for the destruction of Iraq's water supplies. "Iraq's overall water treatment capability will suffer a slow decline, rather than a precipitous halt," it says. "Although Iraq is already experiencing a loss of water treatment capability, it probably will take at least six months (to June 1991) before the system is fully degraded."
This document, which was partially declassified but unpublicized in 1995, can be found on the Pentagon's web site at www.gulflink.osd.mil. (I disclosed this document last fall. But the news media showed little interest in it. The only reporters I know of who wrote lengthy stories on it were Felicity Arbuthnot in the Sunday Herald of Scotland, who broke the story, and Charlie Reese of the Orlando Sentinel, who did a follow-up.)
Recently, I have come across other DIA documents that confirm the Pentagon's monitoring of the degradation of Iraq's water supply. These documents have not been publicized until now.
The first one in this batch is called "Disease Information," and is also dated January 22, 1991. At the top, it says, "Subject: Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad." The analysis is blunt: "Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks. Any urban area in Iraq that has received infrastructure damage will have similar problems."
The document warns that the Iraqi government may "blame the United States for public health problems created by the military conflict."
The second DIA document, "Disease Outbreaks in Iraq," is dated February 21, 1990, but the year is clearly a typo and should be 1991. It states: "Conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing." It adds: "Infectious disease prevalence in major Iraqi urban areas targeted by coalition bombing (Baghdad, Basrah) undoubtedly has increased since the beginning of Desert Storm. . . . Current public health problems are attributable to the reduction of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification and distribution, electricity, and the decreased ability to control disease outbreaks."
This document lists the "most likely diseases during next sixty-ninety days (descending order): diarrheal diseases (particularly children); acute respiratory illnesses (colds and influenza); typhoid; hepatitis A (particularly children); measles, diphtheria, and pertussis (particularly children); meningitis, including meningococcal (particularly children); cholera (possible, but less likely)."
Like the previous document, this one warns that the Iraqi government might "propagandize increases of endemic diseases."
The third document in this series, "Medical Problems in Iraq," is dated March 15, 1991. It says: "Communicable diseases in Baghdad are more widespread than usually observed during this time of the year and are linked to the poor sanitary conditions (contaminated water supplies and improper sewage disposal) resulting from the war. According to a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)/World Health Organization report, the quantity of potable water is less than 5 percent of the original supply, there are no operational water and sewage treatment plants, and the reported incidence of diarrhea is four times above normal levels. Additionally, respiratory infections are on the rise. Children particularly have been affected by these diseases."
The fourth document, "Status of Disease at Refugee Camps," is dated May 1991. The summary says, "Cholera and measles have emerged at refugee camps. Further infectious diseases will spread due to inadequate water treatment and poor sanitation."
The reason for this outbreak is clearly stated again. "The main causes of infectious diseases, particularly diarrhea, dysentery, and upper respiratory problems, are poor sanitation and unclean water. These diseases primarily afflict the old and young children."
The fifth document, "Health Conditions in Iraq, June 1991," is still heavily censored. All I can make out is that the DIA sent a source "to assess health conditions and determine the most critical medical needs of Iraq. Source observed that Iraqi medical system was in considerable disarray, medical facilities had been extensively looted, and almost all medicines were in critically short supply."
In one refugee camp, the document says, "at least 80 percent of the population" has diarrhea. At this same camp, named Cukurca, "cholera, hepatitis type B, and measles have broken out."
The protein deficiency disease kwashiorkor was observed in Iraq "for the first time," the document adds. "Gastroenteritis was killing children. . . . In the south, 80 percent of the deaths were children (with the exception of Al Amarah, where 60 percent of deaths were children)."
The final document is "Iraq: Assessment of Current Health Threats and Capabilities," and it is dated November 15, 1991. This one has a distinct damage-control feel to it. Here is how it begins: "Restoration of Iraq's public health services and shortages of major medical materiel remain dominant international concerns. Both issues apparently are being exploited by Saddam Hussein in an effort to keep public opinion firmly against the U.S. and its Coalition allies and to direct blame away from the Iraqi government."
It minimizes the extent of the damage. "Although current countrywide infectious disease incidence in Iraq is higher than it was before the Gulf War, it is not at the catastrophic levels that some groups predicted. The Iraqi regime will continue to exploit disease incidence data for its own political purposes."
And it places the blame squarely on Saddam Hussein. "Iraq's medical supply shortages are the result of the central government's stockpiling, selective distribution, and exploitation of domestic and international relief medical resources." It adds: "Resumption of public health programs . . . depends completely on the Iraqi government."
As these documents illustrate, the United States knew sanctions had the capacity to devastate the water treatment system of Iraq. It knew what the consequences would be: increased outbreaks of disease and high rates of child mortality. And it was more concerned about the public relations nightmare for Washington than the actual nightmare that the sanctions created for innocent Iraqis.
But that is precisely what the U.S. government did, with malice aforethought. It "destroyed, removed, or rendered useless" Iraq's "drinking water installations and supplies." The sanctions, imposed for a decade largely at the insistence of the United States, constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention. They amount to a systematic effort to, in the DIA's own words, "fully degrade" Iraq's water sources.
At a House hearing on June 7, Representative Cynthia McKinney, Democrat of Georgia, referred to the document "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities" and said: "Attacking the Iraqi public drinking water supply flagrantly targets civilians and is a violation of the Geneva Convention and of the fundamental laws of civilized nations."
Last summer, Representative Tony Hall, Democrat of Ohio, wrote to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "about the profound effects of the increasing deterioration of Iraq's water supply and sanitation systems on its children's health." Hall wrote, "The prime killer of children under five years of age--diarrheal diseases--has reached epidemic proportions, and they now strike four times more often than they did in 1990. . . . Holds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason for the increases in sickness and death. Of the eighteen contracts, all but one hold was placed by the U.S. government. The contracts are for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers, and other equipment. . . . I urge you to weigh your decision against the disease and death that are the unavoidable result of not having safe drinking water and minimum levels of sanitation."
For more than ten years, the United States has deliberately pursued a policy of destroying the water treatment system of Iraq, knowing full well the cost in Iraqi lives. The United Nations has estimated that more than 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of sanctions, and that 5,000 Iraqi children continue to die every month for this reason.
No one can say that the United States didn't know what it was doing.
See for Yourself
All the DIA documents mentioned in this article were found at the Department of Defense's Gulflink site.
To read or print documents:
1. go to www.gulflink.osd.mil
2. click on "Declassified Documents" on the left side of the front page
3. the next page is entitled "Browse Recently Declassified Documents"
4. click on "search" under "Declassifed Documents" on the left side of that page
5. the next page is entitled "Search Recently Declassified Documents"
6. enter search terms such as "disease information effects of bombing"
7. click on the search button
8. the next page is entitled "Data Sources"
9. click on DIA
10. click on one of the titles
It's not the easiest, best-organized site on the Internet, but I have found the folks at Gulflink to be helpful and responsive.
Thomas J. Nagy
Thomas J. Nagy teaches at the School of Business and Public Management at George Washington University.
"Paying The Price: Killing The Children Of Iraq"
Courtesy of: YouTube.com
By John Pilger
Added: December 08, 2006
Award-winning journalist John Pilger has documented the reality of UN harsh sanctions in this hard-hitting film.After Iraq invaded Kuwait, In the 10 years (1991-2001) of sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN, US and UK, the harsh restrictions on importseverything, including access to key medicines, resulted in more deaths than the two atomic bombs combined.
The point was regime change, but it never came. The overwhelming majority of those killed were the poor, elderly, women and children.
Empirically, sanctions overwhelmingly punish the poor, the destitute. While the sanctions were in place, the richest people in control of the resources (Saddam Hussein et al.) still had everything they wanted: food, cars, mansions, access to the best medicines, etc.
Courtesy Of: Today.Reuters.com
December 39, 2006
Dec. 30 - Iraqi state television and Al Arabiya television have shown footage of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein being led to the gallows and a noose being placed around his neck.
The footage did not show the actual moment of the hanging or pictures of his body.
© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.
The dramatic pictures showing Saddam being lead towards the gallows and having a noose put around his neck stopped short of showing the actual moment of hanging.
Saddam's execution follows his conviction by an Iraqi court of the killing of Shi-ites in an Iraqi town after militants attempted to assassinate him there.
Saddam hanging filmed
A profile of Saddam Hussein
Reuters Bureau Chief in Iraq examines the aftermath of the execution
Reactions to the execution on the streets of Iraq
Reactions to the execution internationally