Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I'm totally sickened about how the anchors and reportes at FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC allow these right wing pundits to come on their shows and claim things are calm and getting better in Iraq.

Nothing could be further from the truth and the anchors and reporters at FOX NEWS, CNN and MSNBC should hang their heads in shame because by going along with the right wing pundits they are sticking it to the brave young men and women in our military in IRAQ.

Here is just ONE instance of what took place on Tuesday in Iraq.

Truck bomb wounds at least 15 near Mosul, Iraqi hospital officials say

AP News
Jul 01, 2008 10:13 EST


Hospital officials say a truck bomb has wounded at least 15 people near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Local police say the bomb was planted near the house of a Sunni sheik, Abdul-Razaq al-Waqaa, who had turned against al-Qaida.

Police say 40 people were wounded in the blast near al-Qayarra, 40 miles south of Mosul, including al-Waqaa and his wife.

The reason for the discrepancy in the number of wounded was not immediately clear.
Police say three houses collapsed in the bombing, and seven others were damaged. Authorities are searching through the rubble for those wounded or killed in the attack.

Police and hospital officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
AP News


I get cranky when Democrats tuck tail on issues related to the military. As Brandon Friedman states eloquently on the Vote Vets blog, there is no reason to cede authority on military matters just because of John McCain's service during Vietnam. Republicans sure didn't respect John Kerry's service during Vietnam. Wes Clark came home from Vietnam wounded, too. Let's respect his view, not only as a wounded vet, but also as a senior commander who handled the Balkans and Kosovo.

Submitted by rocketsquirrel on Tue, 2008/07/01 - 8:47am. http://www.knoxviews.com/node/8312

More from votevets: votevets.org blog, vetvoice.: (sorry, can't make links into the specific blog post work.)

Brandon Friedman:We've heard from the pundits, the "strategists," and the politicians all day long on Wesley Clark's recent comments.That said, I've been terribly disappointed by the Democratic "strategists" who've fallen all over themselves in order to talk about how sacred military service is--specifically John McCain's--and how awful General Wesley Clark's comments were, even though not one "strategist" that I've listened to today has ever served a minute in uniform.

These ignorant, knee-jerking consultants on TV have been in an apparent race to concede ultimate authority on military matters to John McCain and the Republican Party since Sunday night. It's disgusting. And these concessions have been so over-the-top destructive to our long-term plans for running the country, that I'm not even sure where to begin.

The bottom line is this: If Democrats tuck tail and run from Republicans in this instance, we run the risk of ceding authority on military issues to John McCain for the rest of the campaign. Whether you like Clark or not, everyone has an interest in defending him vigorously in this case. We cannot allow the Right and the media to get away with trashing the first guy to come out in prime time to slam McCain's military "expertise." If our organizations don't defend Clark as being right in this case, we give in to the idea that Republicans are the parents in terms of national defense, and Democrats are the children--something those on the Right will be more than happy to reinforce.

This idea that we can't question someone's expertise on military matters simply because they served could very easily become the next "whoever is against the war is unpatriotic" mantra. And that's not something I'm prepared to accept.

Here are a handful of the messages we've received at VoteVets.org since this morning. Judge for yourselves what the troops who are left-of-center think about this whole deal.

General Clark was right. Service as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is only one of the roles of a president. General Clark did not attack Senator McCain's ability to be president, he simply pointed out that his military service does not inherently qualify him for that role.Chris LeJeuneSalt Lake City, UTIraq VeteranArmy2003-04

General Clark is right. We should honor the service of any veteran who has suffered in war, but I don't think that in itself qualifies one to be the Commander-in-Chief. And that's the point General Clark was making. He wasn't attacking Senator McCain personally, and anyone who says otherwise is being disingenuous.Patrick AlmandDallas, TXIraq VeteranArmy2004-05

General Clark is on point in his comments about Senator McCain. There are many fine leaders in the military. Some--like Senator McCain--have persevered through the most terrible of circumstances. They are all heroes, but they do not necessarily possess the skills to lead the free world. If Senator McCain really wants to show his Commander-in-Chief credentials, perhaps he should start advocating for a sound national security strategy, rather than marching in the proverbial formation of eight years of failed Bush administration policy.Richard SmithHuntsville, ALAfghanistan VeteranArmy2007-08

Combat veterans understand that General Clark did not denigrate Senator McCain's honorable service to this nation. In fact, it's Senator McCain's lack of support for the troops--like his opposition to the new GI Bill until recently--which dishonors and dismisses the selfless sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform. General Clark understands these things and is never hesitant to speak out about them. General Clark has our back and I have his.Ernesto EstradaSan Francisco, CAIraq VeteranMarine Corps2003

General Clark's criticism is accurate and well-founded. No one is disputing the fact that Senator McCain served his nation with honor, and I am forever grateful for his sacrifice. That being said, the question at hand is whether the senator's military service alone qualifies him to serve as Commander-in-Chief. Despite Senator McCain's horrific experiences in Vietnam, during his tenure in the Senate, he has been a staunch advocate of the disastrous war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failed foreign policy. Senator McCain did not support the Webb-Hagel G.I. Bill or the dwell-time amendment, either of which would have reduced some measure of the emotional and financial stress on active duty service members and veterans.

General Clark was not attacking John McCain's military service--he was questioning whether he learned anything from that experience.Casey HowardColorado Springs, COIraq VeteranArmy2005-06

In no way has General Clark questioned the honorable service or the patriotism of Captain McCain. Rather, he questioned the judgment of Senator McCain who has foolishly endorsed the failed neo-conservative foreign policy of the Bush administration.Peter GranatoWashington, DCIraq VeteranArmy2003-04

PERSONAL COMMENT: As a veteran of the Korean War myself, I will state without fear of contradiction that just serving in the military does not qualify a person for President of the United States. We found that out with U.S. Grant.
Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE and former Cpl. (E-4), U.S. Army Combat Engineers.


On March 19, 2003, as his shock-and-awe campaign against Iraq was being launched, George W. Bush addressed the nation. "My fellow citizens," he began, "at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." We were entering Iraq, he insisted, "with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice.

By Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.comPosted on June 30, 2008, Printed on June 30, 2008


We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people."Within weeks, of course, that "great civilization" was being looted, pillaged, and shipped abroad. Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship was no more and, soon enough, the Iraqi Army of 400,000 had been officially disbanded by L. Paul Bremer, the head of the occupying Coalition Provisional Authority and the President's viceroy in Baghdad.

By then, ministry buildings -- except for the oil and interior ministries -- were just looted shells. Schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, just about everything that was national or meaningful, had been stripped bare.

Meanwhile, in their new offices in Saddam's former palaces, America's neoconservative occupiers were already bringing in the administration's crony corporations -- Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR, Bechtel, and others -- to finish off the job of looting the country under the rubric of "reconstruction."

Somehow, these "administrators" managed to "spend" $20 billion of Iraq's oil money, already in the "Development Fund for Iraq," even before the first year of occupation was over -- and to no effect whatsoever. They also managed to create what Ed Harriman in the London Review of Books labeled "the least accountable and least transparent regime in the Middle East." (No small trick given the competition.)

Before the Sunni insurgency even had a chance to ramp up in 2003, they were already pouring billions of U.S. tax dollars into what would become their massive military mega-bases meant to last a millennium, and, of course, they were dreaming about opening Iraq's oil industry to the major oil multinationals and to a privatized future as an oil spigot for the West.On May 1, 2003, six weeks after he had announced his war to the nation and the world, the President landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier returning from the Persian Gulf where its planes had just launched 16,500 missions and dropped 1.6 million pounds of ordnance on Iraq.

From its flight deck, he spoke triumphantly, against the backdrop of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, assuring Americans that we had "prevailed." "Today," he said, "we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime.

With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians." In fact, according to Human Rights Watch, the initial shock-and-awe strikes he had ordered killed only civilians, possibly hundreds of them, without touching a single official of Saddam Hussein's "regime."

Who's Counting Now?Since that first day of "liberation," Iraqis have never stopped dying in prodigious numbers.

Now, more than five years after the U.S. "prevailed" with such "precision," a more modest version of the same success story has once again taken the beaches of the mainstream media, if not by storm, then by siege. When it comes to Iraq, the good news is unavoidable. It's in the air. Not victory exactly, but a slow-motion movement toward a "stable" Iraq, a country with which we might be moderately content.

The President's surge -- those extra 30,000 ground troops sent into Iraq in the first half of 2007 -- has, it is claimed, proven the negativity of all the doubters and critics unwarranted. Indeed, it is now agreed, security conditions have improved significantly and in ways "that few thought likely a year ago."

You already know the story well enough. It turns out that, as in Vietnam many decades ago, the U.S. military is counting like mad. So, for instance, according to the Pentagon, attacks on American and Iraqi troops are down 70% compared to June 2007; IED (roadside bomb) attacks have dropped almost 90% over the same period; in May, for the first time, fewer Americans died in Iraq than in Afghanistan (where the President's other war, some seven-plus years later, is going poorly indeed); and, above all else, "violence" is down. ("All major indicators of violence in Iraq have dropped by between 40 and 80 percent since February 2007, when President Bush committed an additional 30,000 troops to the war there, the Pentagon reported.")Think of this as the equivalent of Vietnam's infamous "body count," but in reverse.

In a country where the U.S. generally occupies only the land its troops are on, the normal measures of military victory long ago went out the window, so bodies have to stand in. In Vietnam, the question was: How many enemy dead could you tote up?

The greater the slaughter, the closer you assumedly were to obliterating the other side (or, at least, its will). As it turned out, by what the grunts dubbed "the Mere Gook Rule" -- "If it's dead and it's Vietnamese, it's VC [Vietcong] " -- any body would do in a pinch when it came to the metrics of victory.


President Bush, Vice President Cheney and FOX NEWS have been looking for any excuse to get into war with Iran and it appears as though Israel is going to give them the excuse.

Pentagon Official Warns of Israeli Attack on Iran

U.S. Offical Sees Two 'Red Lines' That Could Prompt Strike

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2008—


Senior Pentagon officials are concerned that Israel could carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year, an action that would have enormous security and economic repercussions for the United States and the rest of the world.

A senior defense official told ABC News there is an "increasing likelihood" that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well.

The official identified two "red lines" that could trigger an Israeli offensive. The first is tied to when Iran's Natanz nuclear facility produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. According to the latest U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessments, that is likely to happen sometime in 2009, and could happen by the end of this year.

"The red line is not when they get to that point, but before they get to that point," the official said. "We are in the window of vulnerability."

The second red line is connected to when Iran acquires the SA-20 air defense system it is buying from Russia. The Israelis may want to strike before that system -- which would make an attack much more difficult -- is put in place.

Some Pentagon officials also worry that Israel may be determined to attack before a new U.S. president, who may be less supportive, is sworn in next January.


Iraq Contractor Security Assessment Differs From Bush/McCain

By Spencer Ackerman 06/30/2008 12:11PM

Whenever Bush administration or Sen. John McCain campaign officials open their mouths about Iraq, they portray the country as on a continuous path of Surge-based stabilization. "As security has improved, the environment has changed for the better," Amb. Ryan C. Crocker told Wolf Blitzer on Sunday. "I, of course, am encouraged... The progress has been significant but the progress is also fragile," said a more-intellectually-honest-but-not-by-much Sen. John McCain.

And the latest Pentagon Iraq security report (PDF) to Congress reported that improvements in the security environment have been substantial over the past nine months but significant challenges remain."But rather than security improvements being "substantial over the past nine months," an assessment today from a leading private security and intelligence contractor in Iraq shows that the security picture hasn't changed significantly since October 1, 2007.

GardaWorld is a private intelligence firm advising corporations doing business in Iraq. Its website explains: "In Iraq, through strategic local partnerships and the expertise of expatriate specialists and resident security personnel, who are fluent in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, French, Russian, and English, GardaWorld is able to provide high-quality, tailored solutions. We are formally registered with Ministry of Interior and have all necessary operating licenses."The following charts appeared in GardaWorld's June 30 intelligence briefing for its clients and were obtained by The Washington Independent. On page 2 of the briefing, GardaWorld prints two charts tracing the trajectory of security both Iraq-wide and in Baghdad specifically.

Take a look at the Iraq-wide chart: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/iraq-contractor

As you can see, the incident level spikes and ebbs, but responsible statisticians will see -- as signified by the black bar -- that the daily incident frequency is basically flat since October 1. If anything, it's ticked up somewhat, from about 50 daily security incidents in October to about 70 through the winter and coming in at around 60 presently.Now take a look at the Baghdad chart: Similar deal. The black line that cuts through the spikes and ebbs shows another slight increase in daily security incidents in Baghdad, from 10 in October to about 25 today. (For the full page of the GardaWorld report, click here.)

It's true that this level of violence is lower than that of the bloody spring and summer of 2006, but it's also true that the trajectory of violence is increasing, not decreasing.

Not that you'll ever hear Bush or McCain acknowledge this.