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War, politics, religion... & other stuff you shouldn't talk about over dinner...

Dedicated to the proposition that GW Bush and Saddam Hussein are figments of our unconscious minds

Cost of the War in Iraq
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According to Amnesty International, Iraq executes "scores" of political prisoners every year, at least 31 confirmed last year. How long would it have taken Saddam to execute the 6000+ Iraqi civilians we've killed this year? Figure it out.

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LEAGUE OF LIBERALS

 


SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!

Note: Comments (sigh) working again...

Saturday, December 06, 2003


 
HOW BUSH PLANS TO WIN THE MILITARY VOTE IN 2004

You'd think that after the pay and benefit cuts, extended tours of duty, and so on, Bush might be worried about the military vote in 2004. Apparently he is. Here's his solution: Have Arthur Anderson (Enron's accountants) run the voting.

Kucinich: Enron Accountants Should Not Run Military Voting

Calls Contract With Former Arthur Anderson Company Inherently Flawed And Unacceptable

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Today, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) called the Department of Defense (DOD) awarding a contract for a new system for electronic voting for military personnel living overseas to the firm that at the heart of the Enron accounting scandal inherently flawed and unacceptable.

Accenture, formerly Arthur Anderson was awarded a contract with the Department of Defense to work on the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE). The SERVE is a new voting system that is intended to allow military personnel and some Americans overseas to case absentee votes over the Internet in the 2004 general election. On Monday, Accenture subcontracted with VeriSign to provide certain components of the new SERVE.

Accenture, formerly called Arthur Anderson Consulting, is now rebranded with the name Accenture and is based in Bermuda. It has had numerous failings in many states in its the operation of government contracted computer systems by running up excessive charges, failing to meet basic system criteria, having incomplete or duplicate records, and long backlogs.

"While voting services for our servicemen and women should be improved, contracting out this work to the very company at the heart of the Enron accounting scandal is unacceptable," stated Kucinich. "Arthur Andersen couldn't count Enron's dollars, why should we trust its progeny, Accenture, to count the votes of our military personnel."....
LINK


 
WHY BUSH DOESN'T GO TO SOLDIERS' FUNERALS

A comment at The Right Christians:

It is hardly ridiculous to expect a President to face his public, face the parents of the people his policies have slaughtered.

This isn't just an invasion, this is no water, no doors on the Humvee, guns that jam, no planning, no specific training, not enough ground troops, extended service, slashed pay and benefits, etc.

This is NEGLIGENCE, in other words, Bx's personal style. He's a Preznit; he don't rate the title, didn't earn it, doesn't earn it, and his constant stream of hypocrisy is no substitute. He doesn't spend any time with the troops, he doesn't talk to their families, he doesn't write to their families, and he doesn't CARE about any of them, or any of us.

And, he's a traitor. He'd happily sell out any remaining US values to Uzbekistan if it will get him a bump in the polls.

Posted by: Paul at December 6, 2003 09:56 AM



 
DEATH AND THE CORRUPTION OF MEDICAL RESEARCH

Stealth Merger: Drug Companies and Government Medical Research

Some of the National Institutes of Health's top scientists are also collecting paychecks and stock options from biomedical firms. Increasingly, such deals are kept secret.

By David Willman, LA Times Staff Writer

BETHESDA, Md. -- "Subject No. 4" died at 1:44 a.m. on June 14, 1999, in the immense federal research clinic of the National Institutes of Health.

The cause of death was clear: a complication from an experimental treatment for kidney inflammation using a drug made by Schering AG.

Among the first to be notified was Dr. Stephen I. Katz, the senior NIH official whose institute conducted the study.

Unknown to the participants, Katz also was a paid consultant to Schering AG, a German company.

Katz and his institute staff could have responded to the death by stopping the study immediately. They also could have moved swiftly to warn doctors outside the NIH who were prescribing the drug for similar disorders. Either step might have threatened the market potential for Schering AG's drug. They did neither....

...Two decades ago, the NIH was so distinct from industry that Margaret Heckler, secretary of Health and Human Services in the Reagan administration, could describe it as "an island of objective and pristine research, untainted by the influences of commercialization."

Today, with its senior scientists collecting paychecks and stock options from biomedical companies, the NIH is no longer an island.

Interviews and corporate and federal records obtained by the Los Angeles Times document hundreds of consulting payments to ranking NIH officials...
MORE


 
COMING SOON: IRAQI "SHOW TRIALS"?

Iraqi war crimes tribunal 'days away'

AL JAZEERA, Saturday 06 December 2003

Saddam Hussein and hundreds of his aides could go on trial for crimes against humanity and genocide in a controversial Iraqi-led tribunal that will be given the green light in the coming days.

The law creating the tribunal, which could be passed as early as Sunday, will be similar to proposals made in Washington in April, according to one member of the US appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

The law calls for Iraqi judges to hear cases presented by Iraqi lawyers, with international experts serving only as advisers.

That would mark a stark difference from UN-sponsored tribunals set up to consider war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.

In those courts, international judges and lawyers have argued and decided cases.


Criticism

Some human rights groups criticised the plans, saying Iraq's US occupiers have too much of a hand in them and that Iraqi judges and prosecutors may not have the experience needed to try the cases... LINK


 
FORGET YUCCA MOUNTAIN, IRAQ IS ALREADY BECOMING A NUCLEAR DUMP

Tons of Depleted Uranium Polluting Iraq

Report by YellowTimes.org

WASHINGTON (NFTF.org) -- U.S. forces unleashed at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium (DU) during the war.

“The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 -- a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq,” wrote correspondent Scott Peterson.

Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large.

While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination...

...On a group of abandoned burnt-out U.S. munitions supply trucks, Peterson saw signs U.S. troops put up warning in Arabic, “Danger -- Get away from this area.” A local vendor said that soldiers in masks warned him and others to keep away from the site.

These were the only warnings Peterson found. He wrote that despite the military’s attempts to bulldoze the surrounding topsoil, the Geiger counter readings on remaining piles of radioactive DU dust registered at hundreds of times the average, and a DU dart from a 120 mm tank shell emitted radiation over 1,300 times normal.

Two other sites visited were randomly selected Iraqi armored vehicles destroyed with DU bullets. The remains of these tanks sit near a produce vendor on the outskirts of Baghdad, and have become popular playthings for children; the Geiger counter reading from “a DU bullet fragment no bigger than a pencil eraser” near one child registered 1,000 times normal.

There were no warnings posted informing the populace of the radioactive emissions coming from the tanks
... LINK




Friday, December 05, 2003


 
POTASSIUM IODIDE RECOMMENDED FOR ALL WHO LIVE NEAR NUKE PLANTS

Pills Urged for People Near Nuke Plants

Thursday, December 04, 2003 4:53 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Making potassium iodide pills available to people who live near nuclear power plants was endorsed Thursday by the National Research Council.

The pills can help protect the thyroid gland of people exposed to radiation, if taken promptly after a radioactive release occurs.
Story Tools

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced in late 2001 it would provide the pills to states with nuclear plants on request, so they could have the material on hand if needed in an emergency.

Agency officials said Wednesday that has been done, and handling and distribution of the pills is up to the states....
LINK


BTW: NEW BLOG to check out: Bark bark woof woof


 
THE GREAT DEBATE: BUSH VS. BUSH

HERE

Too Funny...




 
GLOBAL WARMING DATA SHOWS 90s WERE HOTTEST IN 1000 YEARS, SO WHY NO KYOTO TREATY?

The 10 hottest years in the global temperature record, which goes back to 1860, have all now occurred since 1990, with the hottest being 1998, which, according to the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, was probably the hottest year in the northern hemisphere for 1,000 years.

It is followed in the table by 2002 and then 2001, and it is already clear that 2003 will also be in contention as one of the hottest years ever....

...If the evidence of global warming is mounting, how can the treaty designed to counter it be going down?


...the fact, strongly resented in Congress, that only industrialised nations and not developing countries like India and China, were required to cut emissions under the treaty, led George W Bush to repudiate it as one of his first major acts of policy.

But in doing so he also deprived the Russians of one of the major attractions it had for them - the chance to sell their surplus emission cuts for a great bundle of cash.


Good analysis by the INDEPENDENT.



 
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

You know how hard we've been working (well, its not really work) linking George W. Bush with "miserable failure"?

Now rightist Sasha Castel posts: Some Bush-haters have been engaging in some Google-bombing so that if you type in 'Miserable Failure' and click on I'm Feeling Lucky, you get to Dubya's White House bio. Some people are pissed and want to complain to Google, but others suggest a far more devious approach- engaging in our own Google-bombing. Here's a real 'Miserable Failure.' Hehe :) (she links to Jimmy Carter - but I won't)

That means our job is not over! The work must go on!

miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure


 
BUMPER CROP OF OPIUM POPPIES IN AFGHANISTAN

from The Guardian: ...Poppy growing areas in the country doubled between 2002 and 2003 to a level 36 times higher than under Taliban rule, according to figures released by the US last week.

But European intelligence sources and independent experts say that Washington, while publicly expressing concern, in practice is turning a blind eye to the opium crop because it needs the support of the warlords, including those in the north of the country who control the bulk of the poppy harvest...

... The area planted with poppies, used to make heroin and morphine, was 152,000 acres (61,500 hectares) in 2003, compared with 76,900 acres in 2002 and 4,210 acres in 2001, the White House office of national drug control policy said.


- Prediction: A bumper crop of heroin pushers in LA next year...


 
OUTRAGE: JOE CONASON ON WHY BUSH REGIME IS SILENCING WESLEY CLARK

...Wesley Clark, whose scheduled testimony against Slobodan Milosevic at the former Serbian dictator's genocide trial will reportedly be closed to the press and public -- at the insistence of the U.S. State Department...

...In what respect could our national security be jeopardized by Clark's testimony? Actually, U.S. security and prestige would more likely be enhanced by worldwide coverage of a former American general testifying about his country's defense of the oppressed Balkan Muslims....

...A spokesman for the State Department refused to answer any of Hundley's specific questions about the strange decision to black out Clark. In the absence of any convincing explanation, this appears to be a matter not only of harmful judicial meddling and unwarranted censorship, but a gross abuse of diplomatic authority for domestic political advantage as well.
LINK



 
HOLIDAY SALES WEREN'T AS STRONG AS ADVERTISED

Holiday Sales Are Restrained So Far
Luxury, Discount Stores Fare Best Early in Season

By Dina ElBoghdady, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, December 5, 2003; Page E01

The crowds that swarmed the stores the day after Thanksgiving did not lift November retail sales as much as some of the nation's largest chains had hoped, especially at department stores that cater to middle-income consumers.

After tallying results from 74 retail chains yesterday, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. in New York found that sales at stores open at least a year (or same-store sales) were up 3.6 percent in November from a year earlier. But they were below the bank's 4 percent forecast and extremely uneven. Luxury retailers and off-price chains did booming business, while many merchants between struggled....
LINK

- Gee, I wonder if it could have anything to do with the vanishing of the middle class?


 
POETIC INJUSTICE

Military violates own rules in chaplain’s case

By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press

The hearing for a Muslim Army chaplain charged with mishandling classified materials was delayed because others in the military accidentally mishandled classified materials in his case, defense officials said Wednesday.
link

-OK, what I want to know is will THEY be charged?


 
SPY SATELLITES INEFFECTIVE IN TERROR WAR

‘Eyes in the sky’ flying blind?

Experts troubled by ‘too few’ spy satellites to track terrorists

By Lisa Myers, Doug Pasternak, NBC NEWS

... “The United States spy satellite program is in something of a crisis,” says Thompson. “Its photoreconnaissance satellites are having trouble keeping up with the threat, and the enemy has learned how to hide a lot of its transmissions from the electronic eavesdropping satellites,” he observes.
Moreover, the targets are no longer static missile silos; they’re terrorists on the move. “Today we’re looking for guerrillas, we’re looking for terrorists. Finding those sorts of targets with our existing satellites is nearly impossible,” says Thompson.

MORE SATELLITES NEEDED

And there simply aren’t enough photographic or eavesdropping satellites up there now to cover all the world’s hot spots. National security sources tell NBC News that U.S. spy satellites were pulled away from tracking al-Qaida in Afghanistan because of the war in Iraq. And, on some days, sources say the United States has no intelligence satellites at all watching Russia’s nuclear arsenal. “Our spy satellites are so few in number,” says Thompson, “that even when we have them all trained on a single country, most of the time they’re out of range and can’t see what we need them to look at.”...
LINK



Thursday, December 04, 2003


 
REMEMBER THIS IF YOU GET MUGGED

MATT BIVENS (THE NATION): ...even as crime rates are starting to tick up again, the Republicans are now killing off a federal program to help keep cops on the street... USA Today reports that for want of a fraction of what the Republicans are giving away to the wealthy via tax cuts -- or what they now want to give away to the oil, gas and nuclear lobbies -- thousands of cops are being laid off nationally, in a development sure to bring more violent crimes to our cities. LINK


 
HAVE 1700 US TROOPS DESERTED IRAQ?

1,700 U.S. soldiers quit Iraq: French magazine

PARIS, Dec 04, 2003 (Kyodo via COMTEX) -- One thousand and seven hundred U.S. soldiers have deserted their posts in Iraq, with many of them failing to return to military duty after getting permission to go back to the United States, according to the French weekly magazine Le Canard Enchaine.

The magazine, known for its satires and exposes, said the French intelligence agency obtained the information from what it described an "American colleague."

Citing a senior French official posted in Washington, the magazine also said that 7,000 U.S. soldiers have left Iraq allegedly due to psychological troubles and other illnesses.

Some 2,200 others sustained serious injuries including the loss of limbs, it said.
LINK


 
COINKYDINKS OR CONSPIRACY?

BUSH SENIOR MET W/ BIN LADEN BROTHER ON 9/11

... George W. Bush's father was meeting with Osama bin Laden's brother, Shafig bin Laden, in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Washington, on the morning of 9/11. They were on Carlyle Group business just a few miles from where hijackers supposedly acting on behalf of Osama bin Laden would fly a plane into the Pentagon...LINK

On 11 September, while Al-Qaeda's planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Carlyle Group hosted a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honour was a valued investor: Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama. LINK(Last paragraph)

-Strange huh? You probably remember that Neil Bush met John Hinckley's brother the night Hinckley shot Reagan, an act that would have made his father President.

And of course, you knew that Bush's dad was especially briefed by the CIA on the Kennedy assassination on 11/23/63.

Those Bushes sure get around...!


 
HEADLINE OF THE DAY


Tiny fossil found to have the world's oldest known penis

-Don't tell me, let me guess... It was Anna Nicole Smith's late husband?


 
HER SATANIC MAJESTY REQUESTS

Jagger knighthood: Richards rages

LONDON, England (Reuters) --Keith Richards is not amused.

The legendary Rolling Stones' guitarist has flown into a rock and roll rage against Mick Jagger over the singer's decision to accept a knighthood, the ultimate nod from the British establishment.

"I don't want to step out onstage with someone wearing a coronet and sporting the old ermine," Richards told British music magazine "Uncut" in an expletive-rich interview.

"I told Mick it's a paltry honor ... It's not what the Stones is about, is it?"...
LINK

- Hear, hear, Keith!


 
NEXT BIG BAILOUT: THE NUKE INDUSTRY

42 A-Plants Found to Lack Enough Cash for Cleanup

By MATTHEW L. WALD, NY TIMES, December 3, 2003

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 — The owners of nearly half the nuclear power reactors in the United States are not reserving enough money to decommission them on retirement, according to Congressional auditors, who also say the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not tracking the money carefully...

...Representative Edward J. Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who requested the report, said in a statement, "While happily pocketing their profits today, many plant owners are shirking their duty to save for tomorrow."

Taxpayers could be left with billions in costs, Mr. Markey said....
LINK

-I should mention that one of the reasons they want to build the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository is so they can build MORE nuke plants. Great idea, folks.


 
BECHTEL FLUBBING IRAQI SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAM?

..."The impression we often get at the meetings is that Bechtel is more powerful than the army," he said. Bechtel representatives, however, want no more complaints from Dr Abbas. The program is a gift from the US taxpayers, and has been approved by Congress, they say. "No matter what we do, the Iraqis will never be on the losing end," a Bechtel representative told him. His grievances -- the fact that of the 750 schools which are included in his mandate, 20 were destroyed during the war and 170 were looted because the occupation forces failed to provide adequate security -- do not in the least interest Bechtel.... LINK


 
US TO IRAQ: REAL DEMOCRACY IS A BAD IDEA

U.S. Rejects Iraqi Plan to Hold Census by Summer

By JOEL BRINKLEY, NY TIMES

AGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 3 — Iraqi census officials devised a detailed plan to count the country's entire population next summer and prepare a voter roll that would open the way to national elections in September. But American officials say they rejected the idea, and the Iraqi Governing Council members say they never saw the plan to consider it.

The practicality of national elections is now the subject of intense debate among Iraqi and American officials, who are trying to move forward on a plan to give Iraqis sovereignty next summer. As the American occupation officials rejected the plan to compile a voter roll rapidly, they also argued to the Governing Council that the lack of a voter roll meant national elections were impractical.

The American plan for Iraqi sovereignty proposes instead a series of caucus-style, indirect elections...
LINK

- In a real election, your opponents COULD get elected.... Hey, what about if we sent them some Diebold voting machines?


 
STILL MORE RATS DESERT SINKING SHIP

Thailand may withdraw troops from Iraq

Wednesday, December 3, 2003, (Kyodo News)

BANGKOK — Thailand may consider withdrawing troops from Iraq if the country's security situation worsens, Foreign Minister Sathianthai Surakiat said Tuesday.

He told reporters in Bangkok that he will discuss with Prime Minister Chinnawat Thaksin the possibility of withdrawing troops if they can no longer perform their duties smoothly due to worsening security in Iraq.
LINK


 
IS THAT HOW THEY RECRUIT SUICIDE BOMBERS?

Palestinian woman beaten for refusing to explode

JERUSALEM POST, Dec. 4, 2003

A Palestinian woman arrived at the Tarkomiya checkpoint and complained to soldiers that she had been beaten by 4 Hamas terrorists for refusing to serve as a suicide bomber.

The terrorists then escaped in the direction of Kiryat Gat. Southern command police are presently searching for the perpetrators.
LINK



Wednesday, December 03, 2003


 
ITS A GOOD THING WE TOOK OUT SADDAM

In a survey of world leaders, conducted by UNORDH, the United Nations Organisation for the Rating of Dangerous Half-wits, US president George W. Bush was put in the top 3 per cent of the world's most dangerous men.

He was narrowly beaten into third place by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (1st) and Omar Ghaddafi of Libya (2nd). Osama bin Laden trailed in fourth place in front of the North Korean leader and Yasser Arafat came seventh.

The result of the survey conceded that Mr Bush receives his instructions on how to conduct foreign policy from faceless individuals who protect themselves by anonymity, such as Dick Cheney, but pointed out that he is somewhat erratic and unpredictable and is prone to misinterpret advice which threatens the survival of civilisation, as good sense.

The survey also pointed out that if Mr Bush is re-elected as president, it is the unanimous opinion of the organisation that thousands of needless deaths of US and other country's military personnel and civilians will occur during his next term of office.
LINK


 
WE'RE AGAINST IT, BUT TORTURE IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

Amnesty International Report: US Exports $20 million of Shackles, Electro-Shock Technology

Expanding Global Trade Supplies States US Condemned for Torture

(Washington, DC) – A new Amnesty International report charges that in 2002, the Bush Administration violated the spirit of its own export policy and approved the sale of equipment implicated in torture to Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Thailand, despite the countries' documented use of such weapons to punish, mistreat and inflict torture on prisoners. The US is also alleged to have handed suspects in the 'war on terror' to the same countries.

The total value of US exports of electro-shock weapons was $14.7 million in 2002 and exports of restraints totaled $4.4 million in the same period. The Commerce and State Departments approved these sales, permitting 45 countries to purchase electro-shock technology, including 19 that had been cited for the use of such weapons to inflict torture since 1990....
LINK

-And dang it, its JOBS, GOOD jobs!


 
NYT BLAMES RUSSIA FOR SCUTTLING KYOTO ACCORD... BUT...

Why have I heard more in the past two days about how Russia's going to drop the Kyoto Protocol than I've heard that the Bush Administration takes the exact same position in all the newspapers I have ever read in the past 3 years put together? Why does all the coverage make it sound like Russia's the big deal-breaker when it's actually broken — by the USA?

The problem is that both America AND Russia won't sign, since together these nations produce more than half the world's greenhouse gasses. But if the Bush Administration signed on to the Kyoto Protocol, it would go into effect no matter what the Russians said....

M.ZANE (Unknown News)

UPDATE: Russia says it may ratify pact after all


 
ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

FROM D.Raitt:

Courts and Our Food

Here in Western Pennsylvania, we are in the throes of recovering from a fairly large Hepatitus A outbreak. A ChiChi's in Beaver County (just north of Pittsburgh) apparently managed to get its hands on some green onions that had somehow managed to become contaminated with Human Fecal Matter, and as a result over 500 people came down with the disease, at least three people died, and some are waiting for new livers at the moment.

In the wake of this, it is not reassuring to read via Electrolite and Nathan Newman that the Eighth Circuit Court has ruled that the Labor Department overstepped its bounds in requiring Advanta USA to provide portable toilets for seasonal agricultural laborers.


 
SADDAM LOYALISTS BLAMED FOR OHIO FREEWAY SHOOTINGS

Cincinnati, OH - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today blamed the rash of freeway shootings in Ohio over the last month on "Saddam loyalists".

"Look we've seen it in Iraq. When they attack our forces there, it's Saddam loyalists, when they attack civilians - it's Saddam loyalists. If you're not for us, you're against us, and Saddam is against us. Therefore, it's Saddam loyalists."

Rumsfeld also opined that the African-American man recently bludgeoned to death by Cincinnati police was probably "also a Saddam loyalist."


 
IS ASHCROFT USING THE PATRIOT ACT FOR POLITICAL PROSECUTIONS?

Ashcroft's Political Prosecutions

by Cliff Schecter, Published by Tom Paine

...In two states, however, the increasing zealousness of some GOP-connected federal prosecutors—especially when it comes to opening investigations into prominent political officials of the opposing party—are leading many Democrats to fume that partisan political retribution through subpoena has become another weapon in the GOP attack arsenal.
LINK


 
ELEPHANT REPELLANT -- REWRITING HISTORY, BUSH CLAIMS HE FOUND WMDS

Not breaking any ground, Bush highlighted the accomplishments of his administration, saying he had eliminated the terror threat from Afghanistan and weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensured that Medicare will remain solvent." LINK

I love that "not breaking any new ground" ... so he's been saying we found WMDs all along? I thought it was Cheney who said that when his meds got mixed up!

Actually, I predicted this a year ago. Just like the old joke about "Elephant Repellant" if no WMDs were found, we would say "look what a great job we did!"






 
WHY HAS THE MILITARY STARTED DOING BODY COUNTS?

"We don't do body counts"-Tommy Franks- March 20, 2003

Military starts body count of enemy killed

By Patrick McDonnell, Baghdad, December 3, 2003

The enemy body count is back. Sort of.

US military officials, in their regular news briefings in Iraq, have quietly begun reporting on enemy "KIA" or killed in action.

The US Army had long resisted including such figures, in part fearing comparison to the Vietnam War, when enemy casualties always seemed to dwarf US losses even as the war was going badly.

And inflated body counts pointed to a Pentagon spin operation unable to mask the bad news in South-East Asia.

But the steady rise in US casualties in Iraq - November was the deadliest month with 111 members of the US-led coalition killed - has apparently contributed to a shift in approach. ...
link



Tuesday, December 02, 2003


 
9-11 WIDOW FILES R.I.C.O. SUIT AGAINST BUSH FOR FOREKNOWLEDGE AND COVERUP

A Grieving New Hampshire widow who lost her man on 9/11 refuses the government's million dollar hush money payoff, studies the facts of the day for nearly two years, and comes to believe the White House "intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen" to launch a so-called "War on Terrorism" for personal and political gain.

She retains a prominent lawyer, a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, who served with distinction under both Democrats and Republicans and was once a strong candidate for the governor's seat.

The attorney files a 62-page complaint in federal district court
(including 40 pages of prima facie evidence) charging that "President Bush and officials including, but not limited to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft and Tenet":

1.) had adequate foreknowledge of 911 yet failed to warn the county or attempt to prevent it;

2.) have since been covering up the truth of that day;

3.) have therefore abetted the murder of plaintiff's husband and violated the Constitution and multiple laws of the United States; and

4.) are thus being sued under the Civil RICO (Racketeering, Influence, and Corrupt Organization) Act for malfeasant conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wrongful death.
source

See press release here (Courtesy of Scoop- New Zealand), complaint, Open Letter to Bush, and assessment(by Guerilla News Net.


 
CLINTON HATERS NEVER GIVE UP

High court to hear arguments on Vincent Foster photos

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) --Five government investigations concluded that White House attorney Vincent Foster's death in 1993 was a suicide. But Allan Favish, a Clinton antagonist from Southern California, suspects murder and is demanding to see 10 of the police photos. LINK

- Yeah well, why doesn't someone reopen the case of Cliff Baxter or John Kokal?



 
OH, TOO BAD!

G.O.P. Drops Plan to Use Luxury Liner for Convention

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN, December 2, 2003, NY TIMES

Under intense pressure and mounting criticism, Representative Tom DeLay said today that he will not go forward with his plan to use a luxury cruise ship as a floating entertainment center for members of Congress and their guests during the Republican National Convention next summer...
LINK

-Too bad 'cause it would have made an interesting terrorist target (just kidding), not to mention an exquisite symbol of Republican elitism.


 
DISILLUSIONED AGAIN: BLACK FRIDAY NOT THE BIGGEST SHOPPING DAY

Sales figures spike on the day after Thanksgiving, drop sharply, then steadily increase throughout December. The result is that Black Friday generally ends up ranking as the fifth biggest sales day of the year at most (and sometimes less), behind the four days comprising the two weekends before Christmas. The day on which holiday sales peak varies depending upon which day of the week Christmas falls upon, but the highest sales day is usually either the last Saturday before Christmas or December 23.
SOURCE

-Dang... and I SO wanted to believe in SOMETHING this year...


 
WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS: IRAQI TOWN LEFT DEVASTATED

Iraqi town left devastated as questions arise over bodies

DAWN, DEC 2, 03

SAMARRA, Dec 1: The centre of the Iraqi town of Samarra wears a devastated look after ambushes of US troops on Sunday sparked a massive response in which the military claimed 54 guerillas were killed , but the only bodies were of eight civilians, according to the local hospital....

...Anguished residents, including middle-aged men, could be seen hugging each other in grief after the carnage on the streets, which tribal leaders warned would only increase support for Washington's foes in the mainly Sunni town. Graffiti expressing support for Saddam Hussein covered the walls of the city after the prolonged bombardments.

Two Iranians making the pilgrimage to the city's Al Askariya shrine were killed when their bus came under fire just 30 metres from the main hospital, police said. Another nine were wounded....

...Hospital director Abed Tawfiq said "more than 60 people wounded by gunfire and shrapnel from US rounds are being treated at the hospital". Colonel Mohammad said around 20 of the wounded sustained their injuries while worshipping at a mosque during sunset prayers....
LINK


 
ANOTHER FAKE "SUICIDE"? - THIS ONE AT THE U.N.

"Suicide" at the United Nations

WRH says: Holton, 41, was found in a lounge area where U.N. employees often take their breaks. He was seated in one of the chairs and his gun — believed to be a Glock 9mm pistol — was on the chair next to his leg, McCann said.

Now, anyone who has fired a 9mm, Glock or otherwise, knows that there is a heck of a recoil which given the sudden lifelessness of the hand holding it, is going to send the gun flying across the room, not set it down on the chair next to the victim's leg. Also, since UN Guards are not issued guns with silencers, one has to wonder why nobody heard a shot if it was a suicide.
MORE

-Motive, if murder, is unknown. The OTHER and for real suicide scandal is John Kokal


 
ANOTHER ISRAEL SECRET ARMS PACT WITH IRAN?

Secrets and lies

By Amir Oren, HA'ARETZ, DEC. 2, 03

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was not sick with the
flu yesterday, as his bureau announced to explain
his absence from the office. At dawn, he slipped
out of his farm, hidden by a tarp concealing the
rear of his farm manager's pickup, and was driven
to the Hatzerim air force base, wedged into the
rear seat of an F-15i like Vladimir Putin on a
sudden sortie to Chechnya, and flown to Tehran for
a secret meeting with Ayatollah Khamani, to make a
deal with Iran - dismantling the Hezbollah,
returning Ron Arad and selling weapons to Iran
through the mediation of an old friend of
Sharon's.
LINK


 
MOUNTAINS OF DEBT AHEAD

Why America's debt is a risky foreign affair

By David R. Francis, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

...Last August, the Congressional Budget Office - the scorekeeper for Congress - calculated that the federal debt would grow to $5.4 trillion by 2013. Interest on the debt would amount to $305 billion that year. That assumes the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds rises to 5.8 percent. It's 4.9 percent today.

That CBO estimate, though, presumes today's tax law stands as is and that none of today's tax cuts and credits now scheduled to expire by 2010 would be extended. All this is unlikely.

A group of Washington budget analysis groups, the Committee for Economic Development, the Concord Coalition, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), have applied more realistic assumptions. They estimate larger deficits ahead, a $9 trillion federal debt by 2013, and $473 billion in interest payments that year.

That's huge.

Interest payments would consume 15 percent of all federal revenues, as opposed to 8.8 percent today. Interest costs would be equal to 72 percent of the projected defense budget of $660 billion in 2013.

Worse, if 40 percent of that debt was owned by foreigners, the US would be shipping abroad some $189 billion in interest payments that year. This would not retire a penny of the debt owed foreigners....
LINK


 
THE MYSTERY OF THE DISAPPEARING IRAQI CORPSES

About those 54 Iraqi militants supposedly killed:

...The only corpses at the city's hospital were those of ordinary civilians, including two elderly Iranian pilgrims and a child....

So what happened to the bodies?

[Gen.] Kimmit said: "I would suspect that the enemy would have carried them away and brought them back to where their initial base was."

BUT...

The mystery, which borders on solving a mathematics equation, further deepened with Gonsalves' report.

According to him, a total of 60 militants, divided into two groups, attacked two convoys escorting new Iraqi currency to banks in the city.

Another four assailants in a BMW attacked a separate engineering convoy.

If the US troops killed 46 and captured 11 of them, only three of the survivors would have been left to pick up the corpses.

On Kimmit's figures the calculus becomes even hazier -- with 54 killed, 22 wounded and one captured, 13 militants remain unaccounted for, although both commanders did say the cash convoys also came under attack on their way in and out of the city....


So how did they come up with the figures?

"We don't indiscriminately engage people, only those who engage us with AK 47s and RPGs. That's how we determine the number of people we are engaging and, after talking with each soldier, we can tell just how many people are returning fire at us."

That's reassuring, because soldiers NEVER make mistakes under fire, do they? Like mistaking civilians for combatants or that kind of thing?



Monday, December 01, 2003


 
LIMITED NUMBER OF ATTACKERS?

[Rumsfeld] said attacks are mounted by "a limited number of people who are determined to kill innocent men, women and children." NY TIMES

-Yes, limited in the sense that there are only 25 million people in Iraq. The CIA report released last month claimed:

More Iraqis are "flooding to the ranks of the guerrillas." Many of these Iraqis are Sunnis who had previously been "on the sidelines" but now believe they can "inflict bodily harm" on the Americans.

In Afghanistan, CIA studies showed each Taliban killed caused 6 of his relatives to be recruited[link lost].

Occupying powers rarely win wars of attrition.


 
AL QAEDA ASSASSINATES SAUDI PRINCE?

Saudi prince killed in Al Qaeda ambush: reports DAWN

ALGIERS, Nov 30: A Saudi prince was ambushed and killed by suspected extremists while hunting gazelles in the Algerian desert, newspaper reports said on Saturday.

Reports said the prince, identified as Talal bin Abdelaziz Al-Rasheed, was shot and killed during the night of Thursday to Friday in a confrontation in which nine people were killed and several injured.

He was described as a wealthy businessman and the editor of the Saudi illustrated magazine Fawasel. The convoy of four-wheel drive vehicles was ambushed in the Djelfa region, 250 kilometres south of Algiers, reports said....
LINK


 
"The Credibility of Democracy is at Stake"

Krugman makes the case about Diebold's voting machines, and makes it well.


 
MORALITY POLICE OBJECT TO THE USE OF THE WORD 'GAY'

Boy punished for talking about gay mom

Dec. 1, 2003 - LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) -- A 7-year-old boy was scolded and forced to write "I will never use the word `gay' in school again" after he told a classmate about his lesbian mother, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged Monday.

Second-grader Marcus McLaurin was waiting for recess Nov. 11 at Ernest Gaullet Elementary School when a classmate asked about Marcus' mother and father, the ACLU said in a complaint.

Marcus responded he had two mothers because his mother is gay. When the other child asked for explanation, Marcus told him: "Gay is when a girl likes another girl," according to the complaint.

A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him "gay" was a "bad word" and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: "I will never use the word `gay' in school again."...
LINK


 
WHO LOST THE MIDDLE EAST?

A decade from now, a Congressional investigation may look back and ask why things went so badly after 9-11.

The Scotsman has a good summary of what's wrong in Afghanistan and Iraq.


 
WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS PART XXVIII

Iraqis do not trust U.S.-led forces

By Gideon Long, THE MIRROR, 15:55, Dec 1 2003

LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly 80 percent of Iraqis have little or no trust in U.S.-led occupying forces and most place their faith in religious leaders instead, according to a major survey published in Britain.

Nearly half regard the removal of former president Saddam Hussein as the best thing to have happened in the last 12 months while a third said the war, bombings and defeat of the Iraqi army in April was the worst.

"Interestingly, there appears no obvious link between best and worst thing," the authors of the survey said on Monday. "The very troops which liberated Iraqis from Saddam are the most mistrusted institution in Iraq today."

The survey, published by independent British research consultancy Oxford Research International (ORI), samples the views of 3,244 Iraqis, interviewed in their own homes in October and early November. ...
LINK


 
LET'S NOT FORGET WHO THE REAL PROBLEM IS

Guest Editorial by Jerome G. Manis

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Nor evidence of links to Al Qaeda. Clearly, the source of Al Qaeda is Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers who killed 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.



That information is confirmed by an objective and disturbing article about Saudi Arabia in the October, 2003 issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Ruled by a tribal monarchy, Saudi Arabia has 5,000 princes. Its 6 million "guest workers" are immigrants who do the hard, dirty work of the nation. They make up 90% of all employees in the kingdom's small private sector.

As the home of Muslims' holy cities, Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia is the "chief custodian" of Islam. "Sharia" is the strict Islamic law of this alleged ally of ours in the Middle East. Criticized by outsiders are such rules as banning of other religions and restrictions upon women.

The legitimacy of the Saudis came from the extremist Muslim Al-Wahhab who had helped propel the Sauds to power. Stern Wahhabist practices are state-sponsored, and, very importantly, are financed internationally.

Although no mention is made in the article about Jihad, it is a significant part of the Wahhabist perspective, the duty of every Muslim to defend others against attack. While extremist Wahhabists like Bin Laden already found reason for Jihad in America's behavior before 9/11, the occupation of Iraq has given Jihad a new credibility.

America can never be safe while Saudi Arabia remains a recruiting ground for terrorists and while America's attention is distracted by Iraq.


 
LEARNING FROM BUSH? BRITS FORCE OUT SICK GULF VETS TO AVOID MEDICAL CLAIMS...

Army 'forcing out sick Gulf war veterans'

Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent, DAILY TELEGRAPH (Filed: 01/12/2003)

The Ministry of Defence forced "hundreds" of victims of Gulf war syndrome to quit the Army under a system known as "manning control" to avoid paying them medical pensions.

If the soldiers were medically discharged they would have been automatically eligible for a medical pension. But because they were forced to quit, they received nothing....
LINK


 
ARNOLD ATTACKS CLINT

Terminator targets Dirty Harry

From The Sunday Times, December 01, 2003

The Terminator is gunning for Dirty Harry. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the newly elected Governor of California, is drawing up a hit list of officials who may be removed from their posts, and Clint Eastwood's name is on it.

It is a political grudge match between California's two leading celebrity Republicans. Political pundits say Eastwood is "unforgiven" for offering to film a television commercial for Mr Schwarzenegger's Democrat rival, Gray Davis, during the election that brought the Austrian-born Hollywood superstar to power.

Now Mr Schwarzenegger, 56, is under pressure from right-wing donors and party activists to punish Eastwood, 73, by stripping him of his position as an official guardian of the state's renowned redwood trees and wildlife. ....
LINK


 
BUSH OVERTHREW GEORGIAN REGIME OVER OIL

Shevy's big mistake: Crossing Uncle Sam

By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor, TORONTO SUN

The latest recipient of Washington's "regime change" was not some miscreant Muslim state but the the mainly Christian mountain nation of Georgia.

Eduard Shevardnadze, the 75-year-old strongman who has ruled post-Soviet Georgia's 5.1 million citizens since 1991, was overthrown by a bloodless coup that appears to have been organized and financed by the Bush administration.

Shevardnadze's sin, in Washington's eyes, was being too chummy with Moscow and obstructing a major U.S. oil pipeline, due to open in 2005...

...Washington sent high-level emissaries to warn Shevardnadze not to do anything that threatened the proposed oil corridor.

When he went ahead with Russian oil deals, Washington denounced the Nov. 2 Georgian elections as rigged, which they were, although it also turns a blind eye to rigged elections in useful allies like oil-rich Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc.

Cash and anti-Shevardnadze political operatives from the U.S. poured into Tbilisi to back up the president's American-educated principal rival, Mikhail Saakashvili. The rigged election ignited mass protests by Georgians fed up with corruption and crushing poverty. Saakashvili forces stormed parliament and drove out Shevardnadze, who resigned after the army and police refused to defend him....


 
INFILTRATION A GROWING CONCERN IN IRAQ

US Bases Grapple With Infiltration by Iraqi Fighters

A foiled plot against the commander of 5,000 troops around Mosul points to a vulnerability: heavy reliance on local translators and workers.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, LA Times Staff Writer, November 30, 2003

MOSUL, Iraq — The would-be assassins studied the colonel's routine.

They carefully tracked the movements of his Humvee as it came and went at the U.S. military base in this northern city.

"They said they were going to put bombs outside the gates, because they knew I had to come in and out of the gates," said Col. Joe Anderson, who commands about 5,000 troops occupying Mosul and surrounding towns.

Ultimately, the plot was foiled, its alleged ringleader arrested and the cell behind it broken up, Anderson said.

But the case underscores a fundamental dilemma facing U.S. authorities in Iraq.

The U.S. military here is dependent on thousands of Iraqi translators, contractors, laborers and others who toil at coalition bases and other official installations....
LINK


 
U.S. TROOPS KILL 54 SADDAM LOYALISTS - OR DID THEY?

SAMARRA, Iraq — Insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 rifles opened fire Sunday on three American convoys in this central Iraqi city, provoking firefights that left 54 attackers dead and about a dozen wounded, the U.S. military said....

...Cargie said many of the attackers — who opened fire from rooftops and alleyways — were wearing the black uniforms of the Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary group loyal to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Residents of Samarra, however, disputed the accounts provided by the Americans.

Residents said this morning that they knew of no one wearing Fedayeen outfits. Dr. Waleed Faris, a physician at Samarra Republican Hospital, the city's only hospital, said only eight Iraqis and one Iranian were killed in the incidents. A number of residents said some of the victims were workers at a pharmaceutical factory, which was mistakenly hit by projectiles fired from U.S. tanks....
LINK

-I'll just note that after a day of losing a dozen Italians, Spanish, Japanese and Koreans there could have been a temptation to exaggerate.

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that only 8 bodies were recovered.



Sunday, November 30, 2003


 
JUST A COINCIDENCE

Bush Dropping Steel Tariffs to Avert Trade War

Mixed Reaction Likely at Home

By Mike Allen, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, December 1, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration has decided to repeal its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign retaliation against products from politically crucial states, administration and industry sources said yesterday...

Officials said the repeal could help Bush in Michigan, where automakers are heavy consumers of steel and were hurt by the tariffs, but they said that was not the reason for the decision....

... Bush travels to Michigan today and Pennsylvania tomorrow...
LINK


 
NOVEMBER #1 MONTH FOR CASUALTIES IN GULF WAR II

Bloodiest month in Iraq leaves 105 troops dead

By Phil Reeves in Baghdad and Rupert Cornwell in Washington, 01 December 2003

The bloodiest month since the United States led the invasion and occupation of Iraq has come to a deadly close after insurgents killed 14 people from five nations in a weekend of apparently carefully calculated attacks...
LINK


 
USPS DEVELOPING TRACKER TECHNOLOGY

Post Office Gets Pressured to Pry

By Ryan Singel, WIRED, 02:00 AM Nov. 12, 2003 PT

WASHINGTON -- Under political pressure to increase profitability and security, the United States Postal Service is introducing new technology that can trace the progress of mail from sender to recipient and record the identity of both parties.

Bulk mailers -- such as mail-order services, credit-card companies and online DVD rental services -- already use an "intelligent mail" offering to confirm the check really is in the mail and to speed up outgoing shipments of The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Critics, however, say new tracking technology could spell the death of anonymous love letters and anonymous documents mailed off in plain wrappers by whistleblowers. Intelligent mail also would create a massive data trail documenting intimate details of Americans' everyday lives, a rich vein that law enforcement would certainly want to mine....
Story location


 
MONEY FOR NOTHING AND CHICKS FOR FREE

Bush Brother Business Deals Detailed in Divorce

By REUTERS, November 25, 2003, Filed at 8:29 p.m. ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Neil Bush, younger brother of President Bush, detailed lucrative business deals and admitted to engaging in sex romps with women in Asia in a deposition taken in March as part of his divorce from now ex-wife Sharon Bush....

...According to legal documents disclosed on Tuesday, Sharon Bush's lawyers questioned Neil Bush closely about the deals, especially a contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, that would pay him $2 million in stock over five years...

``You have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors do you?'' asked Brown.

``That's correct,'' Bush, 48, responded...

...Bush said he was co-chairman of Crest Investment Corporation, but worked only an average of three to four hours a week. For that, he received $15,000 every three months....

...The women, he said, simply knocked on the door of his hotel room, entered and had sex with him. He said he did not know if they were prostitutes because they never asked for money and he did not pay them.

``Mr Bush, you have to admit it's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her,'' Brown said.

``It was very unusual,'' Bush said....
LINK

- Its GREAT to be KING... (Or even his brother)


 
THOUSANDS LOSING STUDENT FINANCIAL AID

New Formula May Endanger Pell Grant Awards

ACADEME, NOV 03

Eighty-four thousand students will lose eligibility for Pell Grants in the 2004-05 academic year if a recent change to the federal government's formula for calculating financial aid eligibility is allowed to take effect, the Congressional Research Service estimated in July. ...

...In addition to the 84,000 who would lose eligibility for Pell Grants under the new formula, hundreds of thousands more students would likely have their Pell Grants reduced, financial aid experts estimate. Because the federal formula is used to make decisions about how federal, state, and institutional aid is distributed, the change would also affect student eligibility for these kinds of aid.

The Department of Education does not dispute the numbers involved, but it is at odds with many observers about the importance of the changes. The department notes that the overall amount of federal spending on higher education continues to rise. Because both the number of college-age individuals and the percentage of low-income families sending students to college are rising, the number of Pell Grants awarded is also projected to rise. A department spokesperson told the Washington Post in June that the new formula changes would have "a minimal impact on a handful of students."

Speaking to the New York Times, Brian Fitzgerald, director of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, a group created by Congress to provide advice on higher education, disagreed. "It's pretty hard to call several hundred thousand students a handful," Fitzgerald said.
LINK


 
PATRIOT ACT AUTHOR CRITICIZES ITS USE

Patriot Act Author Has Concerns

Detaining citizens as 'enemy combatants' -- a policy not spelled out in the act -- is flawed, the legal scholar says.

By Richard B. Schmitt, LA Times Staff Writer, November 30, 2003

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's war on terrorism has drawn intense scrutiny from the left and the right. Now, a chief architect of the USA Patriot Act and a former top assistant to Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft are joining the fray, voicing concern about aspects of the administration's anti-terrorism policy.

At issue is the government's power to designate and detain "enemy combatants," in particular in the case of "dirty bomb" plot suspect Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn-born former gang member who was picked up at a Chicago airport 18 months ago by the FBI and locked in a military brig without access to a lawyer....
...In the interview, Dinh said he believed the president had the unquestioned authority to detain persons during wartime, even those captured on "untraditional battlefields," including on American soil. He also said the president should be given flexibility in selecting the forum and circumstances — such as a military tribunal or an administrative hearing — in which the person designated an enemy combatant can confront the charges against him.

The trouble with the Padilla case, Dinh said, is that the government hasn't established any framework for permitting Padilla to respond, and that it seems to think it has no legal duty to do so....
link


 
U.S. GOT ITS WISH IN IRAQ

Other people are dying in Iraq, too.

The last couple of months I've been watching the talking fools in punditland chatting about getting other countries' boys dying in Iraq instead of ours. ( I keep cringing when I hear it, because it sounds pretty damn callous , if you ask me). Well it's started happening in November. The latest are Spanish, Koreans, and even a Columbian.

Of course, the net result is that these countries are getting a quicker view of the results of cozying up to the US.

The silver lining is that these victims have died for a higher purpose, preventing more of their countrymen being sacrificed for the chimera of a US led Iraq.

And maybe, by the deaths, we will start to understand that the occupation of Iraq cannot succeed, or be bailed out by our allies, and must go down a completely different road...




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