Monday, April 14, 2008


It is not a done deal, but some lawmakers in Washington are drafting a proposal whereby Iraq would be given loans but not grants in the future.

The Iraq war is costing the American taxpayer 9 BILLION DOLLARS a month, and the much promised oil revenue has never materialized.

Iraq's financial free ride may end

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 53 minutes ago;_ylt=AnLz6kzBehIB55AL1o5b3rZX6GMA

WASHINGTON - Iraq's financial free ride may be over. After five years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on at least one aspect of the war. From the fiercest foes of the war to the most steadfast Bush supporters, they are looking at Iraq's surging oil income and saying Baghdad should start picking up more of the tab, particularly for rebuilding hospitals, roads, power lines and the rest of the shattered country.

"I think the American people are growing weary not only of the war, but they are looking at why Baghdad can't pay more of these costs. And the answer is they can," said Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Nelson, a Democrat, is drafting legislation with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants.

Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for the fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement. Plans are to propose the legislation as part of a war bill to cover spending through September.

Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he wants to add a provision to a defense policy bill that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country before U.S. dollars are spent.

These senators, well-known war skeptics, could find allies in lawmakers who support Bush's current Iraq policies. In hearings last week, Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates whether Baghdad should start paying some U.S. combat costs, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., raised the possibility that an anticipated Iraqi budget surplus this year could be used to help Afghanistan, whose $700 million in annual revenue represents a small fraction of Iraq's $46.8 billion budget.

Bush has suggested that Congress is preaching to the choir. Last week, he noted that Baghdad's latest budget would outspend the U.S. by more than 10 to one on Iraq reconstruction, with American funding for large-scale projects "approaching zero."
"Ultimately, we expect Iraq to shoulder the full burden of these costs," he said.

But lawmakers are dubious. Considering that past predictions on Iraq have fallen short, the legislation would ensure Iraq assumes more of the financial burden, they say.

On the surface, it looks as though the U.S. has about split the costs of rebuilding efforts with the Iraqis: Congress has appropriated about $47.5 billion since 2003 while the Iraqis have budgeted $50.6 billion. International contributions have totaled $15.8 billion.

And, as Bush pointed out, Iraq's latest budget is on track to outspend the U.S. when it comes to rebuilding. Baghdad has devoted $13.4 billion in 2008 for capital expenses, more than a quarter of its $48.6 billion budget.

However, there is a key difference: Whereas the U.S. has spent most of the money it has approved, Iraq hasn't, according to the watchdog agency that audits reconstruction efforts. In 2006 and 2007, for example, Iraq spent only $2.9 billion of its designated $16.3 billion capital budget, which is used to invest in reconstruction projects.

Click on link to read more.


Latest Coalition Fatalities Click on part in "BLUE" to get more details.
04/14/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. William E. Allmon, 25, of Ardmore, Okla., died April 12 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team...
04/14/08 MNF: MND-B Soldier attacked by IED
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when an IED struck the vehicle the Soldier was riding in while conducting a combat patrol in northeastern Baghdad at approximately 4:45 p.m. April 14.
04/14/08 MNF: Coalition force soldier attacked by IED
A Coalition force soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in the Salah ad Din Province April 14. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending next of kin notification and release by the Department of Defense.


April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Current and former military personnel accounted for about 20 percent of U.S. suicides in 2005, according to a government study.

By Tom Randall and Rob Waters

About 1,821 current or former soldiers committed suicide in 16 states in 2005, the most recent year of available data, according to the report published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half were diagnosed with depression and a third left suicide notes.

A rise in suicides among soldiers serving in the military has alarmed Pentagon planners and members of Congress as the war in Iraq enters its sixth year. An Army report produced last year found the rate of suicides among soldiers deployed in Iraq from 2003 to 2006 was almost 40 percent higher than the military's average suicide rate. An update of the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team report released in March found suicide rates for soldiers in 2007 remained ``above normal Army rates.''

``The frequency and the length of deployments are stretching people to the limit and they can't tolerate it,'' Charles Figley, a psychologist who directs the Traumatology Institute at Florida State University, said in a telephone interview today. ``They're taking risks, taking alcohol and taking their own lives because they want to extinguish their pain.''

While 38 percent of the soldiers who took their own lives had a diagnosed mental health condition, only 27 percent were receiving mental health care, according to the CDC report.
30,000 Suicides

Each year 30,000 Americans commit suicide, according to the CDC. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 25 to 34, after accidental injury, according to today's report, the first from an electronic tracking system meant to help researchers better understand and prevent violent death. The U.S. plans to expand the system to all states, the CDC said.
Suicide accounted for about 56.1 percent of the 15,495 reported violent deaths in the 16 states. Fewer military suicide victims were receiving mental health care than non-military victims, the report said. Violent deaths in the report were caused by intentional use of force or unintended use of a gun.

About three-quarters of all suicides recorded by the CDC took place in a house or apartment. Most victims killed themselves with a gun, followed by poisoning and strangulation, according to the study. About 62 percent had alcohol in their blood.

Men were 3.4 times more likely than women to die violently. American Indians and blacks had the highest rates among ethnicities, the CDC said.

A separate study last year found that combat veterans were twice as likely to take their own lives as people who hadn't been in battle. That study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at 320,000 men who had served in the military from 1917 to 1994.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Randall in New York at; Rob Waters in San Francisco at


Surprise! Surprise! The Arab world doesn't like the United States. A new poll by the University of Maryland and Zogby International indicates eight out of ten Arabs have an unfavorable opinion of the United States. Also, only six percent of those polled feel the troop buildup in Iraq by the US has worked.

Arab world sees U.S. in poor light: poll

By Sue Pleming 24 minutes ago;_ylt=Amjn9M0mLVpCELb6V.fBWoFX6GMA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight out of 10 Arabs have an unfavorable view of the United States and only six percent believe the U.S. troop build-up in Iraq in the last year has worked, said a poll of six Arab countries released on Monday.

The poll by the University of Maryland and Zogby International, also found most Arabs did not see U.S. foe Iran as a threat and they sympathized more with Hamas in the Palestinian Territories than U.S.-backed Fatah.

"There is a growing mistrust and lack of confidence in the United States," said Shibley Telhami, a University of Maryland professor in charge of the annual poll.

The survey canvassed the opinions of about 4,000 people over the past month in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. It has a margin of error of about 1.6 percent.

Of those polled, 83 percent had an unfavorable view of the United States and 70 percent had no confidence in the superpower.

"You see this (mistrust) in the number of people who are more comfortable with the US withdrawal from Iraq," said Telhami, noting that more people in this year's annual survey wanted the United States to leave Iraq.

Last year, 44 percent believed Iraqis would find a way to bridge their differences if the United States pulled out but that figure rose to 61 percent this year.

Only six percent of the respondents believed the U.S. boost of troop levels in Iraq last year by 30,000 had worked to reduce the conflict and one in three mistrusted news reports that violence had declined at all.

Eight in 10 Arabs believed that Iraqis were worse off than they were before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, while 2 percent thought they were better off.

The biggest concern was that Iraq would remain unstable and spread instability in the region, with 59 percent voicing this worry over 42 percent last year.

In contrast to U.S. government views, most Arabs did not see Iran as a major threat and 67 percent considered Tehran had the right to a nuclear program.

Over 80 percent of respondents identified the Arab-Israeli conflict as a key issue but just over half -- 55 percent -- did not believe there would ever be a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians despite U.S. efforts to broker a deal between the two by the end of this year.

The United States has sought to isolate the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which took control of the Gaza strip last June, while U.S.-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement control the West Bank.

In the conflict between Hamas and Fatah, only 8 percent said they sympathized most with Fatah and 18 percent were more partial to Hamas, while 37 percent said they backed both.
In the Lebanese conflict, only 9 percent expressed sympathy with the majority governing coalition supported by Washington while 30 percent backed the opposition led by the militant group Hezbollah, which the United States opposes.

Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's popularity grew as did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Asked which world leader they disliked most, U.S. President George W. Bush was at the top of the unpopularity poll with 63 percent followed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with 39 percent.

Looking ahead to the next U.S. president, 18 percent of respondents believed Democratic contender Barack Obama had the best chance of advancing peace in the Middle East followed by 13 percent who saw Hillary Clinton as their best hope.

Only 4 percent chose Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for this November's U.S. presidential election. The remainder either U.S. policy would stay the same whoever won or they were not following election.

One in three respondents believed U.S. policy would remain the same, no matter who won the U.S. election and 20 percent said they were not following the U.S. election anyway.


Blast kills UK troops in Afghanistan

Story Highlights
NEW: Two UK soldiers killed in blast in southern Afghanistan, says ISAF
Official says 11 officers slain in Taliban attack on police post
The police were shot as they lay sleeping, according to official
Initial investigation reveals killers may have been helped by an officer

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An explosion struck a vehicle carrying British troops on Sunday, killing two and wounding two others on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, Britan's Defence Ministry said Monday.

The incident occurred in Kandahar province and involved troops from Britain's Royal Air Force regiment.
"The men were conducting a routine patrol two kilometers west of Kandahar Airfield when the vehicle they were travelling in hit an explosive device," the ministry said.

The troops are deployed with NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
Also Sunday Taliban militants attacked a police post in southern Afghanistan and killed 11 officers as they lay sleeping, an official told CNN.

It was the second time in two days that police officers have been killed in militant attacks in the province of Kandahar.

The Kandahar police official said an initial investigation revealed that an officer may have "had a hand" in the attack because the militants were able to fatally shoot the officers while they were asleep.
The attack occurred in the Arghandab district, some six miles (10 km) north of Kandahar city.
On Saturday, four officers were killed when militants attacked a police unit as they were eradicating poppy fields, officials said.

In recent months, militants have stepped up attacks against local police, coalition troops and NATO-led forces.

U.S. troops are in their sixth year in Afghanistan battling the Taliban, the Islamic militia that once ruled most of Afghanistan, and its al Qaeda allies.


For the past year, President Bush and his mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, have been screaming from the rooftops about how well things are going in Fallujah when just the opposite is true. The worst part of the LIES Bush and FOX NEWS keep putting out is they reach a large audience of people who never take the time to investigate the TRUTH.

This report tells the REAL TRUTH about FALLUJAH sans Bush White House and FOX NEWS spin.

Five Years On, Fallujah in Tatters

Inter Press Service
By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail*

FALLUJAH, Apr 14 (IPS) - Fallujah remains a crippled city more than two years after the November 2004 U.S.-led assault.

Unemployment, and lack of medical care and safe drinking water in the city 60 km west of Baghdad remain a continuous problem. Freedom of movement is still curtailed.

The city suffered two devastating U.S. military attacks during 2004. Many of the buildings were destroyed, or heavily damaged. Several collapsed under the heavy bombing, and were never rebuilt. The heaps of concrete slabs and piles of rubble remain where they were.

"We wonder why we have been targeted by Americans since the first days of the occupation," Dr. Mohammad Abed from al-Anbar University told IPS. "This city sacrificed thousands of its citizens through five years of occupation just because they said 'no' to a project that threatens their country's future."

Now a less visible form of destruction is being spread, he said. "The new wave of destruction is represented by tearing the social tissue apart. The Americans are paying tremendous amounts of money to get people of Fallujah to fight each other."

The road into Fallujah from the main Amman-Baghdad highway is safer today, but nobody is allowed into Fallujah who is not from the city and can prove it by providing elaborate identity documentation. That can only be obtained by undergoing biometric identification by the U.S. military -- a process which includes retina scans, body searches and finger-printing before issuance of a bar-coded ID badge.

The city remains sealed. Many residents refer to it as a big jail.

"Being sealed for five years, Fallujah has lost all aspects of natural life," Ahmad Hamid, a former member of the city council told IPS. "A man who has lived most of his life mixing with British and American people told us in 2003 that we could not reach any agreement because they (Americans) look at Fallujah as a centre of Iraqi people's unity. He told us Iraq would be divided into regions, provinces and even tribes, but we in the council did not listen to him."

The city remains tense in the face of power struggles and turf wars between tribal chiefs and Awakening group commanders, in Fallujah and in other areas of the volatile al-Anbar province. Disputes between the Iraqi Islamic Party and Awakening groups are also creating security tensions. The Awakening forces are former resistance fighters that the U.S. pays to be now on its side.

Beyond security, the health situation in the city is particularly difficult. A study conducted by two civil society organisations and the administration of Fallujah General Hospital over a two-year period was submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Mar. 4.

The hospital administration and the two groups, the Conservation Centre of Environment and Reserves in Fallujah and the Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq, say that in 2006 they found "5,928 new illness cases that were unknown before in Fallujah," over 70 percent of which were "cancers and abnormalities" in children below 12 years of age.

"In the first six months of 2007 there were 2,447 cases, more than 50 percent of these cases were children. Simply, this means that most of the victims are children, and this will threaten the new generation in this city."

"Now we face death of all kinds," said a doctor at Fallujah General Hospital. "In addition to all known diseases, new ones are invading us. Blackwater fever for instance was an unknown disease in our area, but now it is spreading like fire in a forest. We have no medicines to give our patients, and the black market is flourishing.

"Our best doctors fled the city for fear of being detained by American and police forces just because they helped civilians during the two sieges of 2004. They are now considered terrorists or at least terrorist supporters, when they should have been decorated with medals for their heroic work in helping their people."

Medically speaking, "the siege is total," a doctor who gave his name as Dr. Kamal told the press recently, speaking of the lack of drugs, oxygen, electricity and clean water at Fallujah General hospital.

U.S. military officials say reconstruction is under way, and that aid is being provided to hospitals. People see little of that.

"The brutal destruction of Fallujah by the American army was not followed by any reconstruction, as if the city is being punished for its attitude against the occupation," said an engineer in Fallujah, Kaltan Fadhil.

Water and electricity supply, health facilities and roads were provided "in a way that only made some people who collaborated with Americans richer," he said. "It was no more than repainting some buildings to make them look nicer for a while, and then new contracts were announced to rehabilitate what was already rehabilitated."

(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the Middle East)


An Apache helicopter has accidentally killed a US soldier in Eastern Baghdad.
We have a list of the latest incidents in Iraq as reported by Reutersm AP and other news gathering organizations. Click on "blue" part of each story for further details.

Latest Coalition Fatalities
04/13/08 AP: US strike kills own soldiers in Baghdad
The US military says an Apache helicopter has accidentally destroyed one of its own armoured vehicles in eastern Baghdad. The military says the incident occurred yesterday afternoon, when the chopper spotted a group of four militants placing...

04/14/08 AP: British journalist rescued in Basra
The Iraqi military says a British journalist kidnapped two months ago in the southern city of Basra has been rescued. Basra security commander Lt. Gen. Mohan al-Fireji says the journalist was rescued and a group of kidnappers were captured ...

04/14/08 AP: Roadside bomb targets U.S. convoy in Baghdad
An attack on a U.S. convoy sparked a large fire in a marketplace in eastern Baghdad on Monday...Dozens of stalls were set ablaze at 2 a.m. local time when a bomb exploded next to a convoy of U.S. military vehicles driving down a commercial street...

04/14/08 Reuters: Fighting resumes in Baghdad's Sadr City
Fighting erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City overnight after a day's lull, dashing residents' hopes of a let-up in clashes between U.S. and government troops and Shi'ite gunmen who control the streets of the sprawling slum.

04/14/08 VOA: 4 Dead, 6 Wounded in Baghdad Bombing
Iraqi police say a bomb has exploded in central Baghdad, killing at least four people and wounding several others. Police say the blast Monday was caused by a roadside bomb.

04/14/08 Reuters: Gunmen kill policeman in Basra
Gunmen killed a policeman in a drive-by shooting on Sunday in central Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: 2 bodies found in Baghdad
Two bodies were found in different districts across Baghdad on Sunday, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: Council member and 5 members killed in Falluja
A local council member and five members of his family were killed in Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, on Sunday by a stick bomb in their car, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters; 17 people wounded in attack on house in Shirqat
Gunmen attacked houses and wounded 17 people including five women early Monday morning in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: Gunmen kill Independent Electoral Commission worker
Gunmen killed an Independent Electoral Commission worker in a drive-by shooting outside his house east of Baquba, 65 km (42 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: 2 bodies found northeast of Kirkuk, 1 found in Rashad
Two bodies were found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture northeast of Kirkuk..A body was found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture on Sunday in the town of Rashad, south of Kirkuk, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: Clashes kill six children in a clashes overnight of Sadr City
Ten people including six children were wounded in a clashes overnight of Sadr City, eastern Baghdad, police said.

04/14/08 Reuters: Mass grave found north of Baghdad
U.S. forces have found 20 to 30 bodies in a mass grave north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday. The bodies were found on Sunday in the town of the restive province of Diyala where al-Qaeda Sunni Arab militants...


Our sources in Iraq are reporting an uptick in violence in the past 24 hours after a calm that lasted only 24 hours. Baghdad has come under heavy attack especially in the Sadr City area of Baghdad.


Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: A fire caused by a roadside bombing in volatile eastern Baghdad overnight damaged a U.S. military vehicle and roared through a market, an Interior Ministry official told CNN on Monday.The official said there were no Iraqi casualties in the incidents, in which a bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy. He said the blaze broke out at 2 a.m. Monday and firefighters extinguished the blaze hours later. A U.S. military spokesman reported a roadside bombing targeting an MRAP vehicle in the Karrada district at around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The spokesman said the blaze caused a fire that burned down a market. The military could not immediately confirm American casualties.U.S. military said none of the soldiers involved were seriously hurt.

#2: In the central part of the capital, at least four civilians were killed and 10 others wounded when a bomb placed under a parked car detonated near a gas station Monday, the Interior Ministry said.

#3: Fighting resumed in Baghdad's Sadr City overnight after a day's lull, ending hopes of a let-up in clashes between US and government troops and Shia gunmen who control the streets of the sprawling slum. Angry mourners carried a coffin containing the body of a man killed in the clashes through the streets. A hospital said seven wounded casualties had arrived overnight. Residents swept out the rubble from freshly damaged buildings."We heard the sound of bombing and clashes after midnight. It lasted for around an hour and then it stopped. American planes were hovering in the sky until morning," said grocer Ali Sittar.Ten people including six children were wounded in a clashes overnight of Sadr City, eastern Baghdad, police said.

#4: The U.S. military said militants firing rocket propelled grenades ambushed an American patrol in eastern Baghdad late Sunday night. Armed helicopters and an Abrams tank repulsed the attack, killing six of the gunmen, the statement said.

#5: Around 8 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Tahriyat intersection in Karrada neighborhood .No casualties reported.

#6: Around 8:30 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Fudhailiyah neighborhood (east Baghfdad).No casualties reported.

#7: Around 11:30 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Shaab intersection. No casualties reported.

#8: Around 11:45 am, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Tayran square in Bab Al-Sharji (central Baghdad).Five policemen were killed and nine others were injured (two policemen and 7 civilians).

#9: A bomb inside a bus killed at least two people and wounded six others near the Technological University in eastern Baghdad, police said.Diyala Prv:

Baquba:#1: Gunmen killed an Independent Electoral Commission worker in a drive-by shooting outside his house east of Baquba, 65 km (42 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.An armed group assassinated an official NGOs official near the district of al-Wajihiya, 20 km east of Baaquba city, on Monday, a security source in Diala said. "Abdul-Kareem Sabaa was killed by unidentified gunmen fire in al-Wajihiya," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Muqdadiya:#1: U.S. soldiers discovered at least 20 bodies Sunday in a mass grave near the town of Muqdadiya, the military announced Monday. Military officials said the bodies may have been at the gravesite for nearly eight months. The discovery marks the second time in a week when soldiers have come across a mass grave site.A joint security force found five unidentified bodies in a village in al-Muqdadiya district, 45 km northeast of Baaquba, a security source from Diala province said on Monday. The mass grave, found in al-Zor village, Muqdadiya, contained 35 bodies. Thirty were discovered on Sunday and five on Monday. All of them were decayed," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Yusufiya:#1: A roadside bomb killed two policemen and wounded another when it hit their patrol near Yusufiya, 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

Mahaweel:#1: Two bodies were found with gunshot wounds in Mahaweel, 75 km (45 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.Basra:#1: Iraqi's interior ministry executed 28 criminals and militant cult members in the city of Basra, some 550 kilometres south of Baghdad, media reports said on Monday.

#2: Late Sunday, unknown gunmen assassinated police Maj. Ali Haider, a commander in the department's serious crimes directorate, said Col. Salim Zaydi. Haider was a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a Shiite political party that is part of al-Maliki's governing coalition, Zaydi said.

#3: A British journalist kidapped in Iraq's southern city of Basra on February 10 has been freed, state television said on Monday. "The Iraqi army liberated the British journalist Richard Butler," the television said, quoting defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari.

#4: Iraqi security forces lost 15 soldiers and 400 others wounded since the commencement of Operation Saulat al-Forsan (Knights' Assault) in the southern Iraq city of Basra last March, according to the interior ministry's National Command Center on Monday.

Shirqat:#1: Gunmen attacked houses and wounded 17 people including five women early Monday morning in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.In the morning , gunmen of about 40 members of what is called the Islamic State of Iraq attacked some houses at Ral Al-Dhahab village north of Fatha andwest of Baiji which is 240 km north of Baghdad )injuring 17 Sahwa members.

Dour:#1: In the morning, the Iraqi army found a dead body in Dour (south Tikrit and north of Baghdad).Rashad:#1: A body was found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture on Sunday in the town of Rashad, south of Kirkuk, police said.

Kirkuk:#1: Two bodies were found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture northeast of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: A roadside bomb on Monday detonated in the northern city of Kirkuk, leaving no human casualties, police said. “An improvised explosive device (IED) went off near Baghdad's main coach station, central Kirkuk, leaving no human casualties or material damage.”

Sulaimani Prv:#1: Iranian artillery began shelling the villages in Sengeser sub-county and Pishder District of Sulaimani Province in Northern Iraq on Monday, a news service associated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani reported. The shelling in Quandil mountain targeted the PEJAK, a breakaway faction of the outlawed separatist PKK, PUK media reported. Abdullah Ibrahim, the director of Sengeser sub-county, said "Iranian artillery struck Kinera, Sawen Mountain and Mamenda areas without causing any damage,” it reported.

Al Anbar Prv:Fallujah:#1: At least 500 Iraqi children are disabled or handicapped in the wake of U.S. assaults on Fallujah, a children's advocacy group says. Alaa Hamed of the Society for the Welfare of Children said military operations in Fallujah, located about 40 miles west of Baghdad, caused "massive destruction," leaving at least 500 children under 5 mentally or physically handicapped, the Iraqi daily newspaper Azaman reported on its English-language Web site Sunday.

#2: update A local council member and five members of his family were killed in Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, on Sunday by a stick bomb in their car, police said.


A Senior Iranian military officer has accused the Western media of lying about a confrontation between an Iranian fishing boat and a US Naval ship off the coast of Iran.

The mainstream media has been lying to the American public about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past five years so what else is new?

This blog was started because the mainstream media in the United States were both lying about the war in Iraq and even worse they abandoned all coverage of the war.

Anyone watching FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC know the three cable news outlets have devoted almost round-the-clock coverage to the political race for the White House, and they have dumped all coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So the idea that an Iranian military officer is pointing his finger at the mainstream media in the US and saying they lied about what took place in the waters off Iran should come as no surprise to anyone who monitors the press in the United States.

Freedom of the press is an oxymoron left in the hands of the corporate giants who control the media and in many cases are making tons of money off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with their subsidiaries who are in cahoots with the defense industry.

Editorial comment by BILL CORCORAN, editor of CORKSPHERE

'Western media lie just like Bush'
Mon, 14 Apr 2008 14:55:16

Brigadier General Seyyed Massoud JazayeriA senior Iranian military commander has slammed Western media for publishing a 'false' report about an Iran-US naval confrontation. On Friday, the CNN and several news agencies reported that there had been a confrontation between Iranian boats and a US navy vessel in the Persian Gulf. Tehran's response was that there was no confrontation but just a routine identification check.

The reports echoed similar allegations by the US back in January about an encounter in the Strait of Hormuz. “The news released by the US media, including CNN, about a confrontation between Iranian boats and a US navy vessel in the Persian Gulf waters and its quick withdrawal, once again prove that these media outlets are unreliable,” said Brigadier General Seyyed Massoud Jazayeri.

“Of course, this is not the first time that the American and British media are busy spreading gross falsehoods and half-truths,” he added. Jazayeri also said that the publication of 'false' news by the BBC, Fox News, CNN, and the like stems from their untruthful nature. "Just like George W. Bush, the Western media happen to be great liars," he added.


Baghdad, Apr 14, (VOI) – Two civilians were killed and four others wounded in an initial count of casualties left by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Sahat al-Tayaran, central Baghdad, on Monday, the Baghdad Operations Command said.

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq Monday , 14 /04 /2008 Time 1:23:53

"An IED planted by unidentified gunmen on the main road near Sahat al-Tayaran went off when a government vehicle was passing by, killing two civilians and wounding four others," Maj. General Qassem Atta, the spokesman for Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (law imposing), told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).Atta did not give further details on the targeted vehicle.Earlier, an Iraqi security source told VOI, "An explosive vehicle detonated in the area of al-Bab al-Sharqi. There is no count of casualties yet."


BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Fighting erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City overnight after a day's lull, dashing residents' hopes of a let-up in clashes between U.S. and government troops and Shi'ite gunmen who control the streets of the sprawling slum.

By Wisam Mohammed 7 minutes ago;_ylt=AlHg.1GqEfNw1QnvHZAhvvtX6GMA

Angry mourners carried a coffin containing the body of a man killed in the clashes through the streets. A hospital said seven wounded casualties had arrived overnight. Residents swept out the rubble from freshly damaged buildings.

An explosion in central Baghdad's Tayaran Square killed five people and wounded nine, police said.

Sadr City, home to more than 2 million people, has been the focus of fighting between government and U.S. forces and the masked gunmen loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who control its streets. The slum is named for Sadr's slain father, a revered cleric, whose supporters now rally around his anti-American son.

After three weeks trapped in the battle zone amid nightly bombardment, residents had hoped for a break in the fighting when the government lifted a vehicle blockade on Saturday. But a relatively quiet Sunday ended with more fighting overnight.

"We heard the sound of bombing and clashes after midnight. It lasted for around an hour and then it stopped. American planes were hovering in the sky until morning," said grocer Ali Sittar.
Construction worker Mohammed Sadeq, 28, said a friend had phoned him to ask for his help fixing a door that was blown off its hinges by the force of a nearby explosion.

The battles with Sadr's followers, which began with a government crackdown in the southern city of Basra in late March, have involved the heaviest fighting in Iraq since the first half of 2007, ending a long trend of declining violence.


This video shows what it is like for our young GIs fighting an urban war in Iraq.


Watch as US troops zero in on enemy and neutralize them in this exclusive new combat footage:


Ronald Brownstein: The bottom line on Iraq
How much is America willing to spend to try to stabilize Iraq?

By Ronald Brownstein
National Journal
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WASHINGTON - This week's congressional hearings on Iraq were not the upbeat celebration that many of the war's supporters might have expected after months of declining violence.

Instead, the marathon sessions were a sobering, often-grim reminder of how far Iraq remains from durable stability -- and how much more the United States might need to invest, in lives and money, to leave behind a nation that met the definition of success offered at the hearings by the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona: "a peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state that poses no threats to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists." That is, if such a state can be forged in Iraq at all.

While justly celebrating the security gains that the surge in American troops has helped to produce, Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were unsentimental in describing the road ahead. "We haven't turned any corners," Petraeus warned. "We haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel." Crocker, whose world-weary answers sometimes sound as if they were scripted by Graham Greene or Raymond Chandler, often reduced his message to five flinty words: Nothing is easy in Iraq.

The Baghdad duo's somber caution contrasted with the somewhat chirpy optimism of McCain, who insisted in his opening statement that "success is within reach." In fact, Petraeus and Crocker repeatedly suggested that if success is defined by building an Iraqi state anything close to what McCain described, it will require an even more extended American commitment, with all the physical and financial costs that would entail.

In that way, Petraeus and Crocker framed what may be the central question about the war during Campaign 2008: How much is America willing to spend to try to stabilize Iraq? And, just as important, if the war really is crucial to America's security, shouldn't today's taxpayers finance it?

Iraq is the first major war that this country has fought by transferring the entire cost to future generations, including the generation fighting the war, through government debt. President Bush has never proposed raising taxes to pay for the conflict. Instead, he has presided over an increase in domestic spending and substantially cut taxes in 2003, an unprecedented step during wartime. "In every other major war ... we raised taxes," says Robert Hormats, author of The Price of Liberty, an authoritative and insightful recent book on how America has financed its wars. "This is the first major war where we have cut taxes ... and it is the first major war where we have increased domestic ... spending rather than cut it. As a result, the entire incremental cost of the war has been borrowed."

That cost is formidable. The Congressional Budget Office calculates that the Iraq war has already cost $600 billion. That bill is rising by $10.3 billion per month. Because all of that money has been borrowed, the interest on that additional debt might swell the price tag by another $600 billion over the next decade, the House Budget Committee estimates.

Hormats, who held senior foreign-policy positions under Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, notes that in most major wars, American political leaders have publicly debated how to apportion costs between the present and the future -- and have tried to tilt the balance as much as possible toward the present.

New taxes paid for one-quarter of the costs of the Civil War, for one-third of World War I's costs, and for nearly half of World War II's. Even when confronted with the unprecedented expense of those titanic wars, our leaders "had a very keen sense of not imposing inordinate burdens on posterity," says Hormats, now a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs.

Before Iraq, the only exceptions to this pattern were the Mexican-American War in 1846 (a smaller conflict during which President Polk rejected additional taxes) and the Vietnam War (when President Johnson initially resisted tax hikes, then agreed to one in 1968). It's probably no coincidence that both of those wars also bitterly divided the nation (amid charges that the president dissembled on the way in). If Bush and McCain believe they can convince America that keeping many thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq is indispensable to our security, there is a simple way for them to prove it: Ask the country to pay for it.