Sunday, March 9, 2008


Brit Hume, Washington bureau chief and managing editor of FOX NEWS, subbed for Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" and one of his guests was Republican Congressmen (R-Ind.) Mike Pence who had just returned from Iraq and was boasting about how secure Iraq has become.

Pence did admit the peace was fragile, but he obviously didn't visit any of the areas covered in this report about violence all across Iraq.


Baghdad blast toll rises to 68
Thursday: 97 Iraqis Killed, 148 Wounded
Saturday: 1 GI, 7 Iraqis Killed; 14 Iraqis Wounded; 100 Bodies Found
Friday: 27 Iraqis Killed, 33 Wounded

HadithaFour killed by a roadside bomb on the road between Haditha and Baiji

TikritOne police officer killed, three injured in bomb attack on their patrol. Two similar attacks on police patrols in the city caused no injuries. VoI says no damage was caused by these two bombs, but DPA says shops were damaged.

IskandariyaGunmen storm the house of a neighborhood supervisor, killing him and his son. Police later kill four people said to be suspects in the incident.

MosulRemotely detonated car bomb in a garage kills two civilians, injures 5.

Musayab (south of Baghdad)A boy is killed by a roadside bomb.

KarbalaPolice arrest 34 people, including 3 believed to belong to the Ahmed al-Yamani Organization. This is the outlawed messianic movement which has frequently clashed with the authorities in the Shiite south. It is unclear whether the others arrested are suspected militia members, or common criminals.

BaqubaA civilian is killed by gunmen suspected of belonging to the al Qaeda in Iraq organization.The same VoI story says that a mass grave was discovered in al-Salam district, 15 km north of Baaquba, on Sunday, without giving further details. This probably refers to the grave containing 6 bodies found in Khalis near the larger one found yesterday, reported by DPA. DPA quotes VoI as its source, but the DPA dispatch contains more information than the English language VoI posting. I'm assuming the additional information is in the Arabic report --

FallujaAll roads out of the city have been sealed by U.S. forces after a report that "terrorists" have infiltrated.

FOX NEWS' BRIT HUME allowed REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN PENCE to brag about how secure certain sections of Iraq have become. Pence must have been having lunch inside of Camp Victory when all of the above was happening in Iraq.


Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.

The Pentagon's inspector general found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations.

KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that Cheney once led.

Contaminated Water Makes US Troops in Iraq Sick

By LARRY MARGASAK, The Associated Press2008-03-09 09:

A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.

The Pentagon's inspector general found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations.

It was impossible to link the dirty water definitively to all the illnesses, according to the report. But it said KBR's water quality "was not maintained in accordance with field water sanitary standards" and the military-run sites "were not performing all required quality control tests."

"Therefore, water suppliers exposed U.S. forces to unmonitored and potentially unsafe water," the report said.

The problems did not extend to troops' drinking water, but rather to water used for washing, bathing, shaving and cleaning. Water used for hygiene and laundry must meet minimum safety standards under military regulations because of the potential for harmful exposure through the eyes, nose, mouth, cuts and wounds.

KBR said its water treatment "has met or exceeded all applicable military and contract standards." The company took exception to many of the inspector general's assertions. "KBR's commitment to the safety of all of its employees remains unwavering," the company said in a statement to the AP.

KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that Cheney once led.


War is hell - deadly, dangerous and hellishly expensive

By William D Hartung

But just how expensive is it? In a recent interview, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz asserted that the costs of the Iraq war - budgetary, economic and societal - could reach US$5 trillion.

That's a hard number to comprehend. Figuring out how many times $5 trillion would circle the globe (if we took it all in $1 bills) doesn't really help matters much, nor does estimating how many times we could paper over every square inch of Rhode Island with it.

The fact that total war costs could buy six trillion donuts for volunteers to the presidential campaigns - assuming a bulk discount - is impressive in its own way, but not all that meaningful either.

In fact, the George W Bush administration's war costs have already moved beyond the human scale of comprehension. But what if we were to try another tack? How about breaking those soaring trillions down into smaller pieces, into mere millions and billions? How much, for instance, does one week of Bush's wars cost?

Glad you asked. If we consider the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan together - which we might as well do, since we and our children and grandchildren will be paying for them together into the distant future - a conservative single-week estimate comes to $3.5 billion.

Remember, that's per week! By contrast, the whole international community spends less than $400 million per year on the International Atomic Energy Agency, the primary institution for monitoring and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; that's less than one day's worth of war costs.

The US government spends just $1 billion per year securing and destroying loose nuclear weapons and bomb-making materials, or less than two days' worth of war costs; and Washington spends a total of just $7 billion per year on combating global warming, or a whopping two weeks' worth of war costs.

So, perhaps you're wondering, what does that $3.5 billion per week actually pay for? And how would we even know? The Bush administration submits a supplemental request - over and above the more than $500 billion per year the Pentagon is now receiving in its official budget - to pay for the purported costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and for the global "war on terror".

If you can stay awake long enough to read the whole 159-page document for 2008, it has some fascinating revelations.

Click on link above to read full story


Douglas J. Feith, who was one of the major architects in the plans for the war with Iraq, has come out with a searing account in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post on the mishandling of the invasion and the subsequent occupation of Iraq.

Ex-Defense Official Assails Colleagues Over Run-Up to War

By Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, March 9, 2008; A01

In the first insider account of Pentagon decision-making on Iraq, one of the key architects of the war blasts former secretary of state Colin Powell, the CIA, retired Gen. Tommy R. Franks and former Iraq occupation chief L. Paul Bremer for mishandling the run-up to the invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country.

Douglas J. Feith, in a massive score-settling work, portrays an intelligence community and a State Department that repeatedly undermined plans he developed as undersecretary of defense for policy and conspired to undercut President Bush's policies.

Among the disclosures made by Feith in "War and Decision," scheduled for release next month by HarperCollins, is Bush's declaration, at a Dec. 18, 2002, National Security Council meeting, that "war is inevitable." The statement came weeks before U.N. weapons inspectors reported their initial findings on Iraq and months before Bush delivered an ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Feith, who says he took notes at the meeting, registered it as a "momentous comment."

Although he acknowledges "serious errors" in intelligence, policy and operational plans surrounding the invasion, Feith blames them on others outside the Pentagon and notes that "even the best planning" cannot avoid all problems in wartime. While he says the decision to invade was correct, he judges that the task of creating a viable and stable Iraqi government was poorly executed and remains "grimly incomplete."

Powell, Feith argues, allowed himself to be publicly portrayed as a dove, but while Powell "downplayed" the degree and urgency of Iraq's threat, he never expressed opposition to the invasion. Bremer, meanwhile, is said to have done more harm than good in Iraq.

Feith also accuses Franks of being uninterested in postwar planning, and writes that Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser during most of Feith's time in office, failed in her primary task of coordinating policy on the war.

Click on link to read the full story.


BAGHDAD — A mass grave containing about 100 bodies was discovered Saturday in a region north of Baghdad that has seen years of intense fighting between Shiites and Sunni extremist members of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The grisly discovery came as Iraq's Sunni parliament speaker called on the nation's Shiites and Kurds to work together with the minority he represents to pass an election law that would help reconcile Iraq's often warring sects and splinter groups.

Police in Diyala reported two separate bombings Saturday in which six people were killed
In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city and the urban center of an oil-rich region, thousands of people took to the streets to protest deteriorating security in the southern city where Iraqi forces assumed responsibility for safety in December.

Its Shiite residents are becoming increasingly alarmed about security, saying that killings, kidnappings and other crimes have increased significantly since British forces turned over security responsibility.

In February, two journalists working for CBS were kidnapped in Basra. One was released but the other, a Briton, is still being held.

A long line of marchers, estimated to be as many as 5,000 people, demonstrated near the Basra police command headquarters Saturday, demanding that the police chief, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Jalil Khalaf, and the commander of joint military-police operation, Lt. Gen. Mohan al-Fireji, resign.