‘Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed “status of forces” agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.
“The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation,” said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. “We were occupied by order of the Security Council,” he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. “But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far.”‘
‘At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.
Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.
He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”
“They are trying to convert us to Christianity,” said Anad, a Sunni Muslim like most residents of this city in Anbar province. At home, he told his story, and his relatives echoed their disapproval: They’d been given the coins, too, he said.’
‘Doctors at Brook Army Medical Center are testing a regeneration powder that could help injured soldiers regrow fingers and other body parts lost in battle.
The powder, nicknamed “Pixie Dust” after the fairy dust that enabled children to fly in Disney’s Peter Pan, is made from tissue extracted from pigs. It attracts stem cells and convinces them to grow into the tissue that used to be there. This was reported first on CNN.
Doctors at BAMC used the powder last week on a wounded soldier to encourage the regeneration of a finger in lost in Iraq.
“If it is next to the skin, it will start making skin. If it’s next to a tendon, it will start making a tendon, and so that’s the hope, at least in this particular project, that we can grow a finger,” Dr. Steven Wolf told CNN.
Doctors said they are watching patients for unexpected side effects, such as cancer.’
‘A surge in US airstrikes within densely populated areas of Iraq has led to a dramatic rise in civilian casualties.
According to the Washington Post, ever since an attempted crackdown on Shi’ite militias by the Iraqi government in March, which led to increased attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad that killed some Americans, the US military has been firing missiles almost every day into the crowded Shi’ite slum of Sadr City.
Residents describe the attacks as indiscriminate and say they have led to many civilian deaths. However, the US Army states that they choose their targets carefully and often refrain from firing for fear of civilian casualties. [..]
CNN reports further on Iraqi victims of US gunfire, noting that “anger against the Americans is only increasing.”‘
‘The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.
The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.
The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.
It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.
“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.’
‘Just a few weeks back there was a spirited debate over the ethics of deploying war robots in Iraq. Themachine gun carrying remote-controlled killing machines, TALON SWORDS robots, produced by the Army, were among the various robotic soldiers being experimentally deployed in Iraq.
Their deployment lead a major anti-landmine nonprofit organization to campaign against the deployment of the machines. The protests were fueled by a discussion with a leading roboticist, Chris Elliot, who proposed that increasingly intelligent robots might be capable of committing war crimes. [..]
Hot on the tails of his speech, it was revealed on Thursday that the Army will recall the controversial TALON SWORDS robots, with the possibility of pulling the plug on the armed robot deployment program.
Why the sudden withdraw? It turns out the insurgent-slayer decided to attempt a rebellion against its human masters. The Army reported that the robot apparently took a liking to point its barrel at friendlies, stating, “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move.”‘
‘Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has accused the Ministry of Defence of breaking the law over a lesson plan drawn up to teach pupils about the Iraq war. The National Union of Teachers claims it breaches the 1996 Education Act, which aims to ensure all political issues are treated in a balanced way.
Teachers will threaten to boycott military involvement in schools at the union’s annual conference next weekend, claiming the lesson plan is a “propaganda” exercise and makes no mention of any civilian casualties as a result of the war.
They believe the instructions, designed for use during classroom discussions in general studies or personal, social and health education (PSE) lessons, are arguably an attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion just as the world prepares to mark its fifth anniversary.’
‘An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report. [..]
Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had “bulletproof” evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam’s secular dictatorship.’
‘Most people believe that the U.S. is interested in Iran for the OIL or the DOMINATION of the Middle East or even the PELT of Ahmadinejad. WRONG. The real reason for attacking Iran is far more MYSTERIOUS and SHOCKING.
The REAL reason the U.S. government and George BUSH are plotting to invade Iran: MAGIC CARPETS.
Most people think that oil that is the real resource the U.S. is after in Iran, but that’s nothing but a falsehood, perpetrated by the CIA and the Pentagon to distract Americans and the world from the TRUTH.
Iran has the world’s largest STRATEGIC supply of MAGIC CARPETS–flying machines that give the otherwise modest Iranian army the ability to carry out QUICK and DEADLY air strikes in complete SILENCE.’
‘The Iraq war may not dominate U.S. news reports as the carnage drops, but a new report underscores the financial burden of persistent combat that is helping run up the government’s credit card.
“Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.
War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.
“It keeps going up, up and away,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003.’
It’s kinda funny, but probably terrified the cab driver a little. Drink milk!
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‘An Iraqi soldier has opened fire on American troops, killing two and wounding three others, US and Iraqi officials have said.
The incident happened during a joint patrol in the north on 26 December, but fuller details have only now emerged.
An Iraqi general said the patrol had come under fire from gunmen in the city of Mosul, but his soldier had “abused” the situation and shot the Americans. [..]
He said the Iraqi serviceman had been “an insurgent infiltrator”. He was arrested and is being questioned.’
‘The UK, the United States and Canada are facing growing fears over a drug-resistant ‘superbug’ being brought back by wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq that threatens to contaminate civilian hospitals.
The intensified concern comes amid sharply rising infection rates in the US and fresh worries in Canada that the bug could be imported into its civilian healthcare system. Military health officials who have studied the bacterium in Afghanistan believe the infection of wounded British soldiers in field hospitals there is probably inevitable. [..]
The bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii, first emerged as a ‘mystery infection’ afflicting US service personnel returning from the war in Iraq in 2003-04. It was described by a scientific journal specialising in hospital epidemiology as the ‘most important emerging hospital-acquired pathogen worldwide’. The journal added that it was potentially a ‘major threat to public health’ due to its ability to mutate rapidly and develop a resistance to all known drugs.’
‘Put your butt to use: Cigarette butts are a perfect fit for gun barrels and can help keep out dirt, sand or water. And they shoot out easily when the weapon is fired. For non-smokers, there are other options: in Vietnam, soldiers rubber-banded condoms around the tops of their guns.’
‘Attacks against British and Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces there said Thursday.
The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad’s Green Zone.
“We thought, ‘If 90 percent of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?’” Binns said.
Britain’s 5,000 troops moved out of a former Saddam Hussein palace at Basra’s heart in early September, setting up a garrison at an airport on the city’s edge. Since that pullback, there’s been a “remarkable and dramatic drop in attacks,” Binns said.
“The motivation for attacking us was gone, because we’re no longer patrolling the streets,” he said.’
‘Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s jaunt to France was interrupted today by an unscheduled itinerary item — he was slapped with a criminal complaint charging him with torture.
Rumsfeld, in Paris for a discussion sponsored by the magazine Foreign Policy, was tracked down by representatives of a coalition of international human rights groups, who informed the architect of the US invasion of Iraq that they had submitted a torture suit against him in French court.
The filed documents allege that during his tenure, the former defense secretary “ordered and authorized” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.’
‘The colonel was furious. “Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers.” He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. ArmyHumvee on a street in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company. Asked to address this and other allegations in this story, Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, “This type of gossip has led to many soap operas in the press.”‘
‘It all comes out of the “Millenium Challenge ’02″ war games we staged in the Persian Gulf this summer. The big scandal was that the Opposing Force Commander, Gen. Paul van Ripen, quit mid-game because the games were rigged for the US forces to win. The scenario was a US invasion of an unnamed Persian Gulf country (either Iraq or Iran). The US was testing a new hi-tech joint force doctrine, so naturally van Riper used every lo-tech trick he could think of to mess things up. When the Americans jammed his CCC network , he sent messages by motorbike.
The truth is that van Ripen did something so important that I still can’t believe the mainstream press hasn’t made anything of it. With nothing more than a few “small boats and aircraft,” van Ripen managed to sink most of the US fleet in the Persian Gulf.
What this means is as simple and plain as a skull: every US Navy battle group, every one of those big fancy aircraft carriers we love, won’t last one single day in combat against a serious enemy.’
‘Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.
Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).
The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President’s Texas ranch.
The White House refused to comment on the report last night.
But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted.
Only yesterday, the Bush administration asked Congress for another £100billion to finance the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.’
‘A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of “bait,” such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents.
The classified program was described in investigative documents related to recently filed murder charges against three snipers who are accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed.
“Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy,” Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. “Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces.”‘
‘Iraqi officials Monday condemned the weekend killings of eight civilians during a Baghdad street battle involving American security contractors and said they would shut down Blackwater, the company involved.
Blackwater said its employees acted in self-defense. The U.S. State Department said it plans to investigate what it calls a “terrible incident.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to express regret for the weekend killings, both governments said. [..]
An Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, said, “We have revoked Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq. The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday’s killing will be referred to Iraqi justice.”‘
‘America’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.
In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.
However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.
Fed veteran Greenspan lambasts George W Bush on economy
Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.’
‘Jon Stewart recaps the “hard-hitting” questions General Petraeus had to endure during Tuesday’s Senate testimony, and highlights the furthest-right Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee. Hint: He’s from Connecticut and his name is not Chris Dodd.’
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‘The war in Iraq is not over, but one legacy is already here in this city and others across America: an epidemic of brain-damaged soldiers.
Thousands of troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, or TBI. These blast-caused head injuries are so different from the ones doctors are used to seeing from falls and car crashes that treating them is as much faith as it is science.
“I’ve been in the field for 20-plus years dealing with TBI. I have a very experienced staff. And they’re saying to me, ‘We’re seeing things we’ve never seen before,’” said Sandy Schneider, director of Vanderbilt University’s brain injury rehabilitation program. [..]
“It’s the so-called invisible injury. It’s where a troop takes 10 times the normal time to pack his rucksack … a complicated injury to the most complicated part of the body,” said Dr. Alisa Gean, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, San Francisco.’
‘President Bush had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at the Sydney Opera House.
He’d only reached the third sentence of Friday’s speech to business leaders, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, when he committed his first gaffe.
“Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit,” Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Oops. That would be APEC, the annual meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations, not OPEC, the cartel of 12 major oil producers. [..]
The president’s next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard’s visit to Iraq last year to thank his country’s soldiers serving there, Bush called them “Austrian troops.”‘
‘The long and short of it is that by next spring some of the 20 U.S. combat brigades currently in Iraq—perhaps as many as a quarter to a half of them—will be pulling out, and nobody will replace them. This is a mathematical fact, quite apart from anything to do with the upcoming election or the war’s diminishing popularity.
Whether or not you regard this fact as lamentable, President Bush only makes things worse by howling that any pullback would erode American power and embolden the terrorists. Even if his warning is true, for a president to state it so urgently, over and over and over and over, deepens the damage when the storm hits. And given that the storm is certain to hit, it’s irresponsible—it’s baffling—that he’s howling so loudly.’
‘President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.
Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy. [..]
The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.’
It seems in 1994 Dick Cheney actually talked sense.
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‘More than 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols distributed to Iraqi forces by the US are missing, feared fallen into the hands of insurgents, a congressional watchdog warned today.
The highest previous estimate of missing weapons was 14,000, but a new report from the government accountability office (GAO) said US military officials did not know what had happened to 30% of the weapons the US had given to Iraqi forces since 2004.
“They really have no idea where they are,” Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Centre for Defence Information, told the Washington Post, which reported the GAO’s findings. “It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors.”‘