Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bush “Outpolled By Lucifer”

Courtesy Of: Crooks And Liars
Original Source: AOL / AP
December 28, 2006
02:00 PM Eastern Time

AP-AOL News Poll Reveals: America Perplexed by George W. Bush

SCARBOROUGH: Now[,] you don't have to have a [doctorate] in Political Science to realize it's never a good sign when you're outpolled by Lucifer

Watch it: WMP MOV

2006 marks the year that Saddam got death by hanging and Bush got death by polling.

Bush's Infamy And Shame

I wonder how he feels as he swaggers through the night,
Knowing that he's killed yet another man tonight.
I wonder if Saddam will show up in his dreams,
And torment him as he sleeps, until he sits and screams.
We can never really know what awaits Saddam out there,
But, we can and will learn what awaits Bush over here.
For Saddam the war is over, he can no longer be blamed,
But for Bush, the war still lingers - full of infamy and shame.
(Unkown Author)
"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
(Listen to audio or watch video)

The Consequences Of Killing Saddam

Robert Dreyfuss
Article Posted December 31, 2006
(Web Only)

Since the US invasion of Iraq, by one widely reported estimate, as many as 655,000 Iraqis have been killed, in air strikes, by bombs, in death-squad executions and generalized civil strife. Now, add one by hanging: the kangaroo-court trial and execution of Saddam Hussein. In life, even in prison, he inspired many loyalists to fight for his legacy; but his death is certain to spark even fiercer violence, not just from his remaining lieutenants and senior Baath party officials but throughout the broader Sunni Arab community in Iraq. It pushes any hope of Sunni-Shiite reconciliation farther away, inflames passions on both sides and solidifies the image of the United States in Iraq as a bloodthirsty occupier.

Convicted of war crimes by a puppet Iraqi regime that dispensed with niceties such as evidence and rebuttal, Saddam Hussein was blamed by his fiercest critics--such as Kanan Makiya, author of Republic of Fear, and others with strong motive to inflate the scale of Saddam's crimes--of killing 300,000 Iraqis during his thirty-five-year rule (1968-2003). In less than four years, George W. Bush has more than doubled that, with no end in sight. As war criminals go, Bush wins hands down.

The 655,000 US victims in Iraq do not include the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children, who died during a twelve-year era of US-imposed sanctions on Iraq from 1991 to 2003, but those deaths, at least, were obscured by a fig leaf of legality, since the sanctions had been approved by the UN Security Council. Bush's Iraq War had no such cover: It was deemed "illegal" by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.

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.

His death will, of course, inspire the religious Shiites into intensifying their jihad, cementing their belief in the righteousness of their cause. Far more important, however, it will spark a burning desire for revenge among the Sunni Arabs, and not just among Baath party veterans. The commanders and organizers of the insurgency are primarily drawn from those veterans and from the former Iraqi army officer corps, who were mostly Sunni. But their base is among the tribes and clans of western, Sunni Iraq--and since the US invasion, the sons of those tribes have been increasingly enlisting in the resistance army, often to the dismay of some of the more conservative tribal elders.

An overwhelming majority of the Sunni Arab population of Iraq now supports the resistance, and its intensity is likely to grow significantly in the wake of Saddam's death. Earlier this year, 300 Sunni tribal leaders met in Anbar to issue a demand that Saddam Hussein be released from prison, just one indication that support for the former president of Iraq was widespread. "The execution of Saddam means that the flame of vengeance will be ignited and it will hurt the body of Iraq with unrecoverable wound," a Sunni tribal leader told the New York Times.

Indeed, despite the talk of a surge of US forces to pacify the Iraqi capital, the fiercest fighting in Iraq is north and west of Baghdad, in the heart of Sunni Iraq. On December 24, the US military command announced the deaths of three more Marines and two more soldiers there, bringing the total for December to 108 Americans dead and making the month the bloodiest of 2006. At least a year ago, the US military determined that the war in Sunni Iraq was lost militarily, and that it could only be resolved through a political deal between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Now, the United States faces a stark choice: Either abandon Anbar altogether, or face a years-long counterinsurgency campaign there that will mean Fallujah-style, house-to-house fighting in dozens of cities and towns.

A political accord for national reconciliation, always an iffy proposition, is now even more difficult to achieve, in the wake of Saddam's execution. The Shiite religious bloc, were it not intent on an all-out victory that humiliates the Sunni community, might have held out a life sentence for Saddam as part of a deal that included amnesty for insurgents, the cancellation of the draconian de-Baathification laws, the reconstitution of the army and a power-sharing formula that includes Iraq's oil wealth. Now that bargaining chip--and it is a major one--is lost.

And something else is lost. Since his capture in 2003, Saddam has been interrogated by US officials, including CIA officers. According to sources close to the resistance, US officials--including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld--met with Saddam Hussein earlier this year, to ask if he would cooperate in some way to urge the resistance to lay down its arms. (He refused.) But whatever transpired between US officials and Saddam since he was captured, none of it is public. Not a single journalist interviewed Saddam. As far as we know, he wrote no memoir in prison. The countless secrets that he had, about thirty-five years of his leadership, he has taken to the grave. Decades of history have been lost, irrecoverably. Perhaps one of the reasons for the hurried rush to the gallows, even before a series of other staged, show trials could be arranged, was to make guarantee that Saddam's secrets never see the light of day.

Copyright © 2006 The Nation

Our Complicity Dies With Him

He Takes His Secrets To The Grave: How The West Armed Saddam, Fed Him Intelligence On His 'Enemies', Equipped Him For Atrocities - And Then Made Sure He Wouldn't Squeal

Courtesy Of: The Independent
By Robert Fisk
Published: 31 December 2006

We've shut him up. The moment Saddam's hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington's secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA's help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union's influence in Iraq. Saddam's mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq's military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America's request.

"Mr Fisk... at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon," he said. "There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!"

I was with Saddam's forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. Their shelling against Iran outside Basra allowed the first Iraqi tanks to cross the Karun within a week. The commander of that tank unit cheerfully refused to tell me how he had managed to choose the one river crossing undefended by Iranian armour. Two years ago, we met again, in Amman and his junior officers called him "General" - the rank awarded him by Saddam after that tank attack east of Basra, courtesy of Washington's intelligence information.

Iran's official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP's correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. "We started counting - we walked miles and miles in this fucking desert, just counting," he said. "We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again ... The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination - the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies ... the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That's why they spat blood."

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians were right. The lengthy negotiations which led to America's complicity in this atrocity remain secret - Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan's point-men at this period - although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, "United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War", stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, andEscherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: "The United States provided the Government of Iraq with 'dual use' licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including ... chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment."

Nor was the Pentagon unaware of the extent of Iraqi use of chemical weapons. In 1988, for example, Saddam gave his personal permission for Lt-Col Rick Francona, a US defence intelligence officer - one of 60 American officers who were secretly providing members of the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb damage assessments - to visit the Fao peninsula after Iraqi forces had recaptured the town from the Iranians. He reported back to Washington that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to achieve their victory. The senior defence intelligence officer at the time, Col Walter Lang, later said that the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis "was not a matter of deep strategic concern".

I saw the results, however. On a long military hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs - the very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows - and their arms and faces were covered with boils. Later, new bubbles of skin appeared on top of their original boils. Many were fearfully burnt. These same gases were later used on the Kurds of Halabja. No wonder that Saddam was primarily tried in Baghdad for the slaughter of Shia villagers, not for his war crimes against Iran.

We still don't know - and with Saddam's execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam's foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft's arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: "I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly... A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult."

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because "it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales".

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam's excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

The whole truth died with Saddam Hussein in the Baghdad execution chamber yesterday. Many in Washington and London must have sighed with relief that the old man had been silenced for ever.

'The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East' by Robert Fisk is now available in paperback


Lessons The West Must Learn
Western Intervention In Iraq Has Been Flawed; Our Reluctance To Act In Other Parts Of The World Has Been Equally Catastrophic

Mary Riddell
Sunday December 31, 2006

...Beyond the spectre of his atrocities lies the flawed evangelism of the invaders who sought to remove him. They have succeeded, but few tombstones have been more dearly bought. Many thousands of Iraqi civilians have died since the invasion began and more will perish before the New Year starts. As one more bloody dawn broke over Baghdad, Saddam's last post and requiem were the echo of bullets and the laments of the bereaved.

Many of his former subjects recalled another hanging day. Then the spirit of carnival prompted a few revellers to sling a noose round the neck of Saddam's statue, as an American marine briefly swathed the face in a US flag. It was April 2003 and many thought the war was over. Instead, the crash of his image symbolised other endings and beginnings: the death of hubris and the neo-con world vision; the birth of lawlessness and unimagined danger; the slow erosion of precious tenets of justice.

Saddam should not have hanged. Ending his life with a variant of the inhuman punishment he once meted out so lavishly was just another kick against human rights. But in the end, his death seemed more pointless than cruel...Saddam's death is less a righteous judgment on his bloodlust than an epitaph to Western folly. The ghastly final truth is that he taught us much more than we taught him.

Saddam Hussein made his attackers forget the limits of their influence and power. The wish to destroy him erased the fact that Iraq has never been moulded to British will and that enemies cannot easily be vanquished when history and logic are fighting on their side. And now his long shadow hangs over a New Year crowded by much else that the West forgot to remember.

The post-Saddam world splits down many fracture lines, almost all connected to the war on terror. Regions of Africa are facing terrible wars, partly because ancient crises simply slipped out of Western minds. Ethnic cleansing, torture and mayhem in Darfur and Somalia have been airbrushed away by disaster in Iraq, peril in Afghanistan, war in Lebanon and a deepening crisis in Palestine. Of the 'axis of evil' states, North Korea has the bomb and Iran races towards a nuclear deterrent.

...The doctrine that threats should be eliminated, not managed, is more or less defunct, though nostalgic neocons (and even hawkish Democrats) do not rule out a strike against Tehran. But the watchword is realism, larded with national interest. In America's case, that means co-existence rather than assault. Lie low, stay off the trigger. Prefer the negotiating table to the bullet, bomb and gallows.

By bitter irony, it took Saddam to drill home that reciprocity and compromise are far preferable to the delusion that Western military power can conquer all. But the paradox of 2007 is this. The West is contemplating a switch to tea-and-cake diplomacy at the very moment when parts of the world cry out in vain for muscular solutions.

Take Darfur, where rape and slaughter pass for social dialogue: As many as 300,000 people have died in three years and two million are homeless. The conflict has spilled over into Chad, and the world stands impotently by, in the hope that President Bashir might graciously put out the welcome mat for the peacekeeping force mandated by the UN.

Take Somalia. The Islamic grouping that maintained rough law and order has fled before the Ethiopian troops tacitly backed by George W Bush. Warlords are already moving into the vacuum at the heart of one of the most savage and anarchic capitals on earth, and the cornerstone of a new war of Christian versus Muslim has been laid...

...We get the UN we deserve. When resolutions are reluctantly passed and rarely implemented, then transgressors carry on killing with impunity. The old, great powers are effete and cowed by the dead Saddam. When leaders talk of victory in Iraq, they mean: never again. And so humanitarian intervention, the vital long-stop against genocide, becomes unthinkable.

War zones need more money, more peacekeepers and less of the military force that is either useless or unusable. That means scaling down Western nuclear weapons and redrafting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Britain, for all the influence it has squandered in Iraq, can help force change in 2007. It can band with Europe and demand concerted action to help Darfur and Somalia. It can lobby for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council to be extended. Its Parliament must stop Trident Two.

These are the lessons of Saddam and of a war that should never have been fought. If the West can reacquaint itself with humanity and history, then some debacles of the past year may yet be laid to rest alongside a dead dictator. As Saddam goes to his grave, it is time to remember who to help, and when to fight, and what to mourn.


Does The Resistance Target Civilians?

-According To US Intel, Not Really-

By M. Junaid Alam
April 18, 2005
Left Hook

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:

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:

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 , and attends Northeastern University in Boston. He can be reached at


1. See the quote prefacing Mark Danner’s excellent article/report on Iraq, here:



4. The Independent



7. L.A. Times

8. (French)

U.S. Trainers Prepare Ethiopians To Fight

By Monte Morin,
Stars and Stripes Mideast Edition,
Saturday, December 30, 2006

DIRE DAWA, Ethiopia — As soldiers of Ethiopia’s Christian government continued to rout Islamist militiamen in southern Somalia this week, 2nd Cpl. Wonderfraw Niguse celebrated his own victory on the parched scrublands of eastern Ethiopia hundreds of kilometers to the north.

With the sporadic barking of baboons or braying of donkeys in the distance, the 25-year-old squad leader led two successful ambushes against simulated enemy forces here as his fellow trainees charged through thickets of needle-sharp thorn bushes and down dried river beds.

The feat, which Wonderfraw and his fellow soldiers cheered with songs of victory and courage, was accomplished during a three-month basic infantry skills course offered by the U.S. military at the sprawling Ethiopian Training Academy in Hurso.

“They are very good, these techniques that they are teaching us,” Wonderfraw said through an interpreter. “I appreciate everything they are teaching us, especially the ambush. They instruct us on how to establish it and provide security. The ambush is very interesting for me.”

Troops attached to the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa have been training Ethiopian soldiers in basic infantry tactics, officer logistics and maintenance since 2003, when the U.S. government identified the East African country as an ally in its global war on terror. Similar training programs are ongoing in Djibouti and Kenya.

In Hurso, the so-called military-to-military training has taken on a new urgency in the days following Ethiopia’s incursion into Somalia on behalf of that collapsed nation’s embattled, albeit U.N.-sanctioned, government.

“Depending on whether things really kick off, it’s a very real possibility that some of these guys could find themselves using these skills very soon,” said Sgt. 1st Class Bill Flippo, an instructor based at Camp Hurso.

“You want to make sure you cover everything thoroughly,” the 27-year-old Winfield, Kan., native said. “The stuff you teach them could result in things working out really good for them, or really bad.”

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.

“The majority of these guys are trainers themselves,” said 1st Lt. Ben Daughters, 24, of Chillicothe, Ohio. “The idea is that we train them and they go back and train their own.”

Roughly 60 U.S. personnel reside at Hurso, most of them soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 294th Infantry Regiment of the Guam Army National Guard. The guard unit is now on its third, yearlong rotation in the Horn of Africa, and is scheduled for a fourth.

“They love us here because we interact a lot with the locals,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Noel Camagaganacan, 40, of Dedeo, Guam.

U.S. instructors operate from a very small, fenced compound deep within the Ethiopian Training Academy, which itself encompasses miles of sparse scrub and rocky mountain ranges teaming with wildlife.

The barracks and classroom buildings were constructed by the former Soviet Union, a financial and military ally of Ethiopia’s ousted Derg regime. Concrete monuments bearing the communist hammer and sickle can still be found on base.

Among the minor diversions available to soldiers here is the feeding of dozens of hawks that circle and swoop over the compound daily. A pastime among the Guam Army National Guardsmen is to toss cooked hamburger patties or fried buffalo wings into the air and watch as the hawks attempt to catch them in their talons or swoop down and grab the chunks of meat that have fallen to the ground.

While the trainers at Hurso were not immediately aware of Ethiopia’s plans to wage war on southern Somalia’s Islamist militiamen, they did notice a sudden increase in troops at Hurso, as well as other preparations. It was roughly two weeks ago when soldiers here watched as Soviet-built Hind helicopters belonging to the Ethiopian Defense Forces fired rockets into the mountains on the edges of the camp.

“We were wondering, ‘why are they doing that,’ ” Flippo said. “Then a week later the war kicked off.”

¶ See more photos from the Ethiopian Training Academy here.

Link To Article:

© 2006 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.

George Carlin's Take On Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get oldis when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six anda half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to thenext number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . you become 21.Even the words sound like a ceremony . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you soundlike bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on thebrakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HITlunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there.Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become alittle kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Black Bull Died Today

By Mirza Yawar Baig

They did it. They gave this Ummah a sacrifice on the day of Eid ul Adha. What an unforgettable Eid!! A human sacrifice. Not a sheep or goat. What a message!! Wow!! What a powerful message that I am sure has shaken all the thrones of the puppets who are watching the events. Poor puppets!!

Saddam Hussain, they say, is dead. The news reporting is one good example of the pimp press in full swing. If anyone who is not suffering from amnesia can recall, 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' was a phrase coined by American foreign policy experts to lie to their own nation and the world and justify their invasion of Iraq. Then their lie was exposed but by then their objective of looting Iraq's oil had also been accomplished. They had control of the oil fields. And in the process a few hundred thousand Iraqis died at the hands of Americans; well that is inevitable - collateral damage. As they say Weapons of Mass Deception - which of course the pimp press is responsible for and continues to perpetrate on the world.

Death is not the "item" in the news. It is the death of the myth of American justice and freedom. So now we can all breathe freely as we see the true nature of the animal before us. Even those who continued to insist on living in doubt can deny it no longer. But watch out!! This news item and a million like it, floating on the net or shouting themselves hoarse on the TV are all focused on trying to make you and me distracted from the reality of what we are seeing here. So they talk about how brutal Saddam was and how many people he killed and how he 'started' the Iraq-Iran war.

The issue of course is none of those things. If these were in fact issues, then we would see Bush and all his cronies and most of their puppets sitting on thrones in their gilded prisons, swinging from the gallows long before Saddam came anywhere near them. The issue is America's right to invade a sovereign nation. Any country's right to invade and occupy another sovereign nation and loot its wealth. That is the issue. Are we, the people of the world saying that it is the right of America or anyone with the power to do so, to take by force what they want from whoever they want? Are we, the people of the world, saying that it is the right of the rapist to rape? Are we, the people of the world, saying that it is the right of the bandit or the highway robber to hold you up and take from you what he wishes by force? Because in my opinion, by remaining silent, that is exactly what we will be saying. You decide what you want to do. I have already made my decision as you can see.

The pimp press and all those who it serves want you and me to forget these issues. And they believe that if they make enough noise, we will.

Remember O People! The name of the animal is Empire. And you and I have a choice. Sell your soul and bow your head in submission to the King. Or raise your head and it will be cut off. It's as simple as that. Freedom is as it will be defined for you. Justice is as will be given to you. Democracy is as is approved for you. If you elect Hamas as your party of choice, that is not democracy. It will be sabotaged and ever willing pimps will be put in the place of the people you really wanted. If you have any sense you will see the writing on the wall and next time around you will elect Abbas. If not the Empire has unlimited power, money and people to enforce its will. All that will happen is that a 100 of you will die for every American soldier who comes to enforce the will of the Empire. That is a price that the Empire can and will extract. After all it did not get to where it is today by being made of sugar candy, did it?

Resources are for those who can take them and use them. Where they happen to be located is immaterial. Their owners are still the same. Those who come in the way because they happen to be located physically on those resources have a choice; move away quietly and maybe you will even be paid something. If not, you will be moved by force...not sideways...but 6 feet below. Now even the dumbest in the world should be able to understand that, no??

But no!! There are those who are dumber than the dumb. They are those who believe in their right to determine how they will live, by what code. They are those who believe that it is their right to live by their laws in their lands without apology to anyone. They are those who believe in their right to choose who will lead them. They are those who believe that foreigners can't dictate to them, who they should elect to their councils. They are those who believe in their right to use what they own, to sell it to who they want, in whatever currency they choose to sell and at whatever price. They are those who believe that it is the right of the owner of a property to decide to sell or not and at what price. They believe that the buyer can't dictate those terms to them. They are those who believe that all humans are equal irrespective of race, color or religion. They believe that a lack of melanin in the skin is not a sign of human superiority just as a surfeit of it is not. They believe that if this life is to be lived, then it must be lived with honor. They believe that a death with honor is far more preferable than a life without honor. They believe that enslavement is in the mind. And that until they accept in their minds and hearts that they are slaves, they cannot be enslaved. And such people will never be enslaved. No matter how many they kill.

What they don't understand is that every head that is cut off to terrorize only strengthens the resolve that injustice must be removed from the face of the earth. And whatever price is to be paid, is worth the result. The plant of justice is fertilized by the blood of martyrs.

As I write this post I am reminded of the Arabic legend of the White Bull: At Thawr il Abyadh

Once upon a time three bulls lived in the forest. One white, one brown and one black. They were brothers and lived together in harmony. In that forest also lived a tiger who had his eye on the bulls. But every time he attacked one of them the others came to his aid and together they drove the tiger away.

The tiger decided that he needed to change his strategy. So one day when the Black Bull was away, he went to the other two and said, "You know, the Black Bull is black and dirty and evil. Why do you keep him with you? His is a disgrace to you. You are beautiful and noble. If the Black Bull is no longer there, you will have all the grazing to yourself. He takes away your food and adds no value to you." The two bulls listened to the tiger's spiel and said, "Well, you know, he is our brother. What can we do?"

"You need not do anything at all," said the tiger. "I am your friend. I will do what needs to be done. Just don't come to the aid of the Black Bull when he calls you." The others agreed.

The next day, they heard the voice of the Black Bull calling for help in anguish and fear. They listened to him and went back to their grazing. Gradually the calls stopped. The two brothers could not look each other in the eye but then, nice green grass wipes away memories and after a little while it was as if the Black Bull never existed.

Then one day the tiger came to the White Bull when he was alone and said, "So are you happy with the advise I gave you? Didn't I advise you well? Now here is another advise. You are the real king of the forest. You are White and clean and pure and holy and beautiful. You are wise and good. You deserve to live in solitary splendor like a king. Not with some dirty brown trash who you have to share your food with. Why do you need him? He is a liability and an embarrassment to you."

"Well, what should I do?"

"You know the score. Nothing at all. I am there to take care of everything for you. Just relax."

Next day, the White Bull heard the dying screams of the Brown Bull and closed his ears and went back to his grazing.

The White Bull lived for a few days all by himself, grazing where he wanted and drinking from the clean streams of the forest. Then one morning the tiger came again. From the look in his eyes, the White Bull knew that this visit was different. All his life flashed before his eyes. He recalled the time when the three brothers stood together, shoulder to shoulder. Then he recalled all the incidents since then. As the tiger sat before him, not in any hurry, knowing that the result was pre-determined, the White Bull said to him, "I have one last wish. Will you grant it to me?"

"Anything at all my friend", said the tiger.

The White Bull then climbed a hill and when he got to the top of it, he called out to the people of the forest,

"O! People, I do not die today. I died the day the Black Bull died."

The Secret Behind The Sanctions

How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply

By Thomas J. Nagy
Published In The September 2001 Issue Of
The Progressive

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 (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 proceeds to itemize the likely outbreaks. It mentions "acute diarrhea" brought on by bacteria such as E. coli, shigella, and salmonella, or by protozoa such as giardia, which will affect "particularly children," or by rotavirus, which will also affect "particularly children," a phrase it puts in parentheses. And it cites the possibilities of typhoid and cholera outbreaks.

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."

Perhaps to put a gloss on things, the document states, "There are indications that the situation is improving and that the population is coping with the degraded conditions." But it adds: "Conditions in Baghdad remain favorable for communicable disease outbreaks."

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.

The Geneva Convention is absolutely clear. In a 1979 protocol relating to the
"protection of victims of international armed conflicts," Article 54, it states: "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."

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."

Over the last decade, Washington extended the toll by continuing to withhold approval for Iraq to import the few chemicals and items of equipment it needed in order to clean up its water supply.

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

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:
By John Pilger
Added: December 08, 2006
From: OneMJDN
RunTime: 75:04

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.

Video Documentary:

Saddam's Body Displayed On TV

Courtesy Of:
December 39, 2006

1. Footage Shows Saddam At Gallows:

WARNING: This Rough Cut contains graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised.
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.

Video Fottage:

2. Saddam Hanging Filmed:

Dec. 30 - Arab TV footage shows former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein at gallows.
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.

Penny Tweedie reports.

Video Footage:

3. Saddam's Body Displayed On TV:

Dec. 30 - Biladi, a Shi'ite-run channel in Iraq has showed Saddam Hussein's body lying with his neck twisted and with what appeared to be blood or a bruise on his left cheek.

Video Footage:

4. Click on the below links to follow the Saddam Hussein story:

You Know Your Country Is In Trouble When:

-Baghdad Burning-

Courtesy Of:
Friday, December 29, 2006
(RiverBend Is A Female Iraqi Blogger)

1. The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.

2. Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.

3. The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.

4. The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.

5. An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.

6. Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.

7. For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.

8. Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.

9. People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.

A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.

2006 has been, decidedly, the worst year yet. No- really. The magnitude of this war and occupation is only now hitting the country full force. It's like having a big piece of hard, dry earth you are determined to break apart. You drive in the first stake in the form of an infrastructure damaged with missiles and the newest in arms technology, the first cracks begin to form. Several smaller stakes come in the form of politicians like Chalabi, Al Hakim, Talbani, Pachachi, Allawi and Maliki. The cracks slowly begin to multiply and stretch across the once solid piece of earth, reaching out towards its edges like so many skeletal hands. And you apply pressure. You surround it from all sides and push and pull. Slowly, but surely, it begins coming apart- a chip here, a chunk there.

That is Iraq right now. The Americans have done a fine job of working to break it apart. This last year has nearly everyone convinced that that was the plan right from the start. There were too many blunders for them to actually have been, simply, blunders. The 'mistakes' were too catastrophic. The people the Bush administration chose to support and promote were openly and publicly terrible- from the conman and embezzler Chalabi, to the terrorist Jaffari, to the militia man Maliki. The decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi army, abolishing the original constitution, and allowing militias to take over Iraqi security were too damaging to be anything but intentional.

The question now is, but why? I really have been asking myself that these last few days. What does America possibly gain by damaging Iraq to this extent? I'm certain only raving idiots still believe this war and occupation were about WMD or an actual fear of Saddam.

Al Qaeda? That's laughable. Bush has effectively created more terrorists in Iraq these last 4 years than Osama could have created in 10 different terrorist camps in the distant hills of Afghanistan. Our children now play games of 'sniper' and 'jihadi', pretending that one hit an American soldier between the eyes and this one overturned a Humvee.

This last year especially has been a turning point. Nearly every Iraqi has lost so much. So much. There's no way to describe the loss we've experienced with this war and occupation. There are no words to relay the feelings that come with the knowledge that daily almost 40 corpses are found in different states of decay and mutilation. There is no compensation for the dense, black cloud of fear that hangs over the head of every Iraqi. Fear of things so out of ones hands, it borders on the ridiculous- like whether your name is 'too Sunni' or 'too Shia'. Fear of the larger things- like the Americans in the tank, the police patrolling your area in black bandanas and green banners, and the Iraqi soldiers wearing black masks at the checkpoint.

Again, I can't help but ask myself why this was all done? What was the point of breaking Iraq so that it was beyond repair? Iran seems to be the only gainer. Their presence in Iraq is so well-established, publicly criticizing a cleric or ayatollah verges on suicide. Has the situation gone so beyond America that it is now irretrievable? Or was this a part of the plan all along? My head aches just posing the questions.

What has me most puzzled right now is: why add fuel to the fire? Sunnis and moderate Shia are being chased out of the larger cities in the south and the capital. Baghdad is being torn apart with Shia leaving Sunni areas and Sunnis leaving Shia areas- some under threat and some in fear of attacks. People are being openly shot at check points or in drive by killings… Many colleges have stopped classes. Thousands of Iraqis no longer send their children to school- it's just not safe.

Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam's execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst.

This is because now, Saddam no longer represents himself or his regime. Through the constant insistence of American war propaganda, Saddam is now representative of all Sunni Arabs (never mind most of his government were Shia). The Americans, through their speeches and news articles and Iraqi Puppets, have made it very clear that they consider him to personify Sunni Arab resistance to the occupation. Basically, with this execution, what the Americans are saying is "Look- Sunni Arabs- this is your man, we all know this. We're hanging him- he symbolizes you." And make no mistake about it, this trial and verdict and execution are 100% American. Some of the actors were Iraqi enough, but the production, direction and montage was pure Hollywood (though low-budget, if you ask me).

That is, of course, why Talbani doesn't want to sign his death penalty- not because the mob man suddenly grew a conscience, but because he doesn't want to be the one who does the hanging- he won't be able to travel far away enough if he does that.

Maliki's government couldn't contain their glee. They announced the ratification of the execution order before the actual court did. A few nights ago, some American news program interviewed Maliki's bureau chief, Basim Al-Hassani who was speaking in accented American English about the upcoming execution like it was a carnival he'd be attending. He sat, looking sleazy and not a little bit ridiculous, his dialogue interspersed with 'gonna', 'gotta' and 'wanna'... Which happens, I suppose, when the only people you mix with are American soldiers.

My only conclusion is that the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq, but would like to leave behind a full-fledged civil war because it wouldn't look good if they withdraw and things actually begin to improve, would it?

Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?

Link To Source:
Posted by river @ 1:00 PM