Friday, June 6, 2008


It is not bad enough that Iraq can't get their act together with their two-bit government, but now they are dictating what the United States military can and cannot do in their country.

The moguls who run the U.S. puppet government in Iraq have issued a decree saying they want the U.S. military to report to the Iraqi government any troop movements before they are made.

Considering the Iraqi government is infiltrated with all kinds of radicals who can't stand the United States the idea of letting Iraq dictate U.S. troop movements is a prescription for disaster.

If the United States agrees to such an "order" from the Iraqi government, it would put every GI and Marine in Iraq right in the cross hairs of every insurgent and anti-American Iraqi in all of Iraq.

It would also be the first time a fledgling government told the United States military what is could do and not do.


Iraq says it wants to restrict movement of U.S. troops

By Michael Georgy 42 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said on Friday it would not grant U.S. troops freedom of movement for military operations in a new agreement being negotiated on extending the presence of American troops on its soil.

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said the United States wanted its forces to operate without any restrictions, but this was not acceptable to Iraq.

The United States, which invaded Iraq in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein, is negotiating an agreement with Iraq aimed at giving a legal basis for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq after December 31, when their United Nations mandate expires.

The negotiations are the subject of heated debate both in United States and Iraq, where thousands have answered anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's call for weekly protests after Friday Muslim prayers.

While the Iraqi government has confirmed there are major differences between the two sides in the negotiations, few details of the sticking points have been made public.

"What I can confirm now, with no hesitation, is that there will not be freedom of movement for American (forces) in Iraq," Salih told Arabiya television.

U.S. officials said this week they would not comment on the content of the negotiations.
But Western diplomats say it is unlikely the Americans would agree to any deal that would require them to seek permission from the Iraqi government for every military operation.


Paul Jay, Senior Correspondent for The Real News Network interviews Larry Wilkerson about how Vice President Dick Cheney blocked any talks with Iran.

Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Larry Wilkerson on how Cheney turned down talks with Iran


Wilkerson says what Dr. Rice has been saying is fairly consistent with what the administration‘s position has been and that is, that Iran must stop enrichment before talks can happen. I think that’s absurd. Setting such conditions is a route to no talks at all, which is why Cheney advocates such a policy. Iran made a serious approach in 2003 to talk, Cheney made the State department turn it down. The plan was for regime change throughout the Middle East.

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."


The intrepid Patrick Cockburn reveals that the White House is more or less blackmailing the Iraqi government into signing a security pact with George W. Bush. At stake is $50 bn. of Iraqi money held in the US Federal Reserve, at least $20 bn. of which could be lost to Iraq if the government of Nuri al-Maliki declines to sign on the dotted line.

Bush Blackmailing al-Maliki with $50 Bn. in US Fed

Cockburn also reveals that the Iraqis wanted to diversify their receipts from oil sales away from dollar holdings into euros, and that the Americans vetoed the move. Bush wants 50 bases in Iraq and the prerogative of the US military to act unilaterally and with impunity inside the country.

Although the Bush administration is playing hardball to get this wideranging set of commitments from Iraq before July 31, and although Iraqis are eager to escape Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which limits their government's sovereignty, the negotiations may collapse in the face of widespread opposition to the baldly neocolonial terms sought by Washington.

Even remaining under the UN Security Council, under Chapter 7, may be preferable to Baghdad. There were large demonstrations against the security agreement, barely covered by the US press, last Friday, and Iraqi religious and political leaders are coalescing against it. Postcolonial states of the Arab world, which only attained real independence from Britain and France with great difficulty and in living memory, are touchy about being seen as kowtowing to imperial demands. The Shah's government was overthrown in 1979 by huge crowds and a wide cross section of the public precisely on these grounds.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a 170-page report accusing Bush and Cheney of exaggerating the intelligence on the threat posed by Iraq, in the build-up to the Iraq War.

A big explosion in north Baghdad killed at least 15 [late reports say 18] persons and wounded 75 on Wednesday. Iraqi police said it was a suicide bombing. The US military said it was an accidental explosion of munitions a Shiite militia was moving up for an attack on US forces. Robert Reid writes, "The force of the blast crumbled several two-story buildings, buried cars under rubble, sheared off a corrugated steel roof and left a large crater on the residential street." There were several other bombings and attacks, making Wednesday a particularly violent day in Iraq (details below).Sadly, Reid notes, "The three American soldiers died when gunmen opened fire on them near the town of Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad, a U.S military statement said. No further details were released.


Iraq Report Undermines Bush’s Claim That He Is A ‘Credible’ Leader Because He ‘Reads The Intelligence’»

Today, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee released the final two sections of its pre-war intelligence report.

As Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said, the report concludes “that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”

In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was dismissive of the report, explaining that President Bush made false statements before the Iraq war simply because he was kept in the dark:

PERINO: That dissent amongst experts within the intelligence community at some level did not reach the president.


In reality, Bush kept himself in the dark. As the report
notes, the intelligence reports did contradict the administration’s hawkish statements. In fact, the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, which the White House used to make the case for war, also included a “clear dissenting views” section:

The Estimate itself expressed the majority view that the program was being reconstituted, but included clear dissenting views from the State Department’s Buerau of Intelligence and Research, which argued that reconstitution was not underway, and the Department of Energy, which argued that aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were probably not intended for a nuclear weapon.

The revelations pour cold water on Bush’s rationale as to why he makes a good wartime leader. In 2007, he said that he is credible as Commander-in-Chief because he “reads” the intelligence:

Q: Can you explain why you believe you’re still a credible messenger on the war?

BUSH: I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David.

All of the intelligence I looked at…the Congress looked at, said the same thing,” Bush said in 2004. Unfortunately, it seems that Bush only selectively “looked at” the intelligence.


VA Chief Likens PTSD to "High School Football Injury"

By ItsNeverOver - June 4, 2008, 6:48PM

I recently traveled to Madison, WI, to interview Rachel and Josh, two young Iraq War veterans about the health issues they've dealt with, due to poor accountability for both the private contractors who are supposed to be supporting our troops, and for the mental health needs of returning soldiers.

When I interviewed Josh about his difficulties seeking help for his PTSD, he recounted the whole horrific process with a smile on his face and a self-effacing laugh. It took me a while to realize that Josh laughed about his troubles because the seriousness of the situation was overpowering. Unfortunately, even the VA is starting to turn its back on the gravity of this problem, even as it escalates to frightening proportions.

Apparently, VA Secretary James Peake is not troubled by the fact that one in five veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or that every day, 18 veterans commit suicide.

In a statement last week, Peake first referred to the growing concern surrounding the veterans' mental health crisis as “overblown,” then went on to say, “Many of the brain injuries are serious but some of them are akin to what anyone who played football in their youth might have suffered.”

Peake continued to belittle the devastating effects of war-induced brain injuries and mental disorders by saying, "Just because someone might need a little counseling when they get back, doesn't mean they need the PTSD label their whole lives."

Addressing the stigma of PTSD is one thing; downplaying the prevalence and devastation of this problem in order to deflect any responsibility of the VA is another. PTSD is an effect of our troops living through horrific scenes, burdened with stop-loss and extra tours of duty; left untreated, it can mark the lives of these young men and women for years and even decades.

The fact that the VA's mental health services are grossly insufficient is a problem that the VA needs to address before more veterans slip through the cracks .