The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News & Views 03/12/08

Photo: Relatives check the damage done during a US forces raid on a house in Arab Jabour, southern Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 12, 2008. US forces arrested the owner, Hameed Fahad, who is also a member of a local Awakening Council that sided with Americans against al-Qaida in Iraq. (AP Photo/Loay Hameed) [They are still doing operations in Arab Jabour, but no new reports of massive US air bombing. - dancewater]


Wednesday: 4 US Soldiers, 19 Iraqis Killed; 36 Iraqis Wounded

Tuesday: 80 Iraqis Killed, 123 Wounded

US military says it shot and killed a young girl north of Baghdad

US soldiers shot and killed a young Iraqi girl who "appeared to be signaling to someone" along a stretch of road where several roadside bombs had recently been found, a military official said early Thursday. The shooting, which took place Wednesday afternoon, occurred in the volatile Diyala province north of Baghdad. An exact location was not given in a military statement. The girl appeared to be "around 10 years old," said Maj. Brad Leighton, a military spokesman.

Iraqis fear return to violent days

In just a week, Baghdad has seen a spate of suicide bombings that have killed scores of Iraqis and five U.S. soldiers — among 12 Americans who have fallen in the line of duty during the past three days in Iraq. Suddenly, the city is feeling the unease of the period before violence eased partly as a result of the U.S. troop buildup, which is now coming to a close. "Violence has increased dramatically" over the past few days, said Haitham Ismael, a 33-year-old father of three living in western Baghdad. After five years of war, Iraqis interviewed said they were not necessarily changing their daily routines. But all said the growing bloodshed was present in their minds, clouding what had until recently been a more hopeful time.

Iraqis bury 10 after blast U.S. says killed no one

It was an incident that aptly summed up the fog of war in Iraq -- relatives burying nine women and a child they said were victims of a bomb attack on a bus in which the U.S. military said no one died. In Iraq, acts of violence are almost always accompanied by multiple accounts from witnesses, police, health officials and U.S. forces. But even by Iraqi standards Tuesday's attack on a bus full of mourners was a puzzle. The U.S. military said in a statement on Wednesday the bus was hit by an explosively formed penetrator, a particularly deadly type of roadside bomb normally used against U.S. armoured vehicles. A nearby U.S. convoy was also caught in the blast. "Operational reports confirm one U.S. soldier and one civilian were wounded in the convoy," the military said in a statement that came after a day of conflicting casualty reports.

A spokesman for British military forces in the nearby southern city of Basra, Major Tom Holloway, said he was still trying to work out the number of casualties after police initially reported 16 people being killed. The attack took place near Nassiriya about 375 km (235 miles) southwest of Baghdad. The bus was carrying 50 women and children and three men who had been attending a mourning ceremony for a relative in the holy city of Najaf, its driver said. … In Najaf, relatives gathered at a cemetery on Wednesday and accused U.S soldiers in the convoy of having shot at the bus, a charge U.S. military spokesman Major-General Kevin Bergner denied at a news conference in Baghdad.

IRAQ: Protests mount over insecurity in Basra

Iraq's second largest city of Basra, about 600km south of Baghdad, is still under the sway of militants and criminal groups, and security forces are absent, residents and local officials told IRIN on 11 March “We are living in hell,” said Abbas Mohammed al-Lami, a 48-year-old mathematics teacher. “The security situation is getting worse day by day and if it continues like this, residents will either get killed or leave the city.” “Assassinations, killings, attacks and different assaults are taking place every day and everywhere in the city, while security forces are doing nothing except showing off in the streets with their car sirens,” he said. “The government is losing control to criminal groups… No one is safe in this city, all are targeted and for no sins committed,” said Aliya Ramadhan Hadi, a 52-year-old housewife.


Iraqi police raid Mehdi Army strongholds

Iraqi police raided strongholds of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army in the southern city of Kut on Wednesday after the militia broke a ceasefire and clashed with security forces a day earlier. The city's police chief said at least 11 people were killed in Tuesday's gunbattles in which U.S. special forces called in air strikes after Iraqi authorities asked them for help. With U.S. forces already stretched by an upsurge in violence in Iraq since January, such ceasefire violations are a worrying development. U.S. commanders have credited the ceasefire with sharply reducing sectarian bloodshed that threatened civil war. But the commanders say security gains can only be cemented by progress towards national reconciliation. Last month parliament passed an amnesty law hailed by Washington as a major step towards healing rifts between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.

Security worsens in south as Mahdi Army resorts to arms

Violence erupted once again in central and southern Iraq as heavily armed Shiite militia groups battle with police and army over control of residential quarters. Most ferocious clashes are reported to be taking place in the Province of Wasit of which the city of Kut is the capital. Police sources in Kut say the Mahdi Army, the military army of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has driven police forces from city. The clashes follow orders from Sadr to permit his militias to carry arms and defend themselves. This is the first breach of the six-month truce he and U.S. commanders had agreed upon. So far the fighting has involved his militias and Iraqi forces. But the latest clashes in Kut prove that Iraqi troops are no match to Sadr’s heavily armed militia. Police and security forces have fled the city and are reported to be regrouping for a counter attack. Iraqi troops have asked for reinforcements but it is not clear whether U.S. occupation troops will interfere.

Iraq says to sue Halabja chemical weapons suppliers

Iraq plans to take legal action against the suppliers of chemicals used in a poison gas attack on the town of Halabja in Iraq's Kurdish north, which killed 5,000 people in 1988, the government said on Wednesday. Iraq's cabinet also approved $6 million to finance construction in the town ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack on March 16, it said in a statement. "The cabinet decided to take legal measures to sue the companies who provided the ex-regime with the chemical weapons used in Halabja," the statement said, without naming the companies. In 2005, a Dutch court sentenced a Dutch businessman to 15 years in prison, later raised to 17 years, for supplying the raw materials for poison gas to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The gas was used in Halabja, and also in Iraq's 1980-1988 war with Iran.

Iraqi Government Defends Budget Handling

Iraqi government officials on Wednesday expressed "regret" about what U.S. officials said was mismanagement of oil revenues. U.S. auditors told Congress on Tuesday that Iraq is not spending much of its own money, despite soaring oil revenues that are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus. The expected surplus comes as the U.S. continues to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraq and faces a financial squeeze domestically because of record oil prices. "The government expresses regret over the statements of the U.S. government auditing office and some congressmen about how Iraqi government invests its money," said Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. [So, are all ‘sovereign’ countries subject to the US telling them what to do with their money? – dancewater]

FACTBOX-Iraq, the likely scenarios

ADNAN AL-DULAIMI, KEY FIGURE IN IRAQI ACCORDANCE FRONT, MAIN SUNNI POLITICAL BLOC IN PARLIAMENT "Our view towards the future of Iraq is surrounded with pessimism, because the events which are happening now are a preface to what will happen in the future. "Iraq's southern provinces are moving close to conflict over power and fortune. American forces will not withdraw from Iraq, and even if they did a long-term presence will be maintained. The influence of neighbouring countries will continue to grow."

MAHMOUD OTHMAN, KURDISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT "The future of Iraq depends on many elements, among them agreement among the political blocs and the role of neighbouring countries towards Iraq. I have hope that the coming years will be better than previous ones."

HAMEED AL-MUALLA, MP AND SENIOR MEMBER OF THE SUPREME ISLAMIC IRAQI COUNCIL, ONE OF THE BIGGEST SHI'ITE PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT "The coming five years will witness the emergence of a new Iraq. With the recent passing of key laws by parliament, the clock has ticked, announcing a new start for a country that has suffered years of isolation and a series of setbacks." "I believe that in five years Iraq will overcome all hurdles and take its role as an influential country."

NASSAR AL-RUBAIE, HEAD OF POLITICAL BLOC LOYAL TO SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR "America will practice a long-term policy aimed at undermining the government, the same policy adopted with Saddam's regime, and then the government will become a skeleton which will be recreated by U.S.-made flesh."

HASSAN AL-SHIMMARI, PARLIAMENTARY LEADER OF SHI'ITE FADHILA PARTY THAT CONTROLS SOUTHERN BASRA "The American-Iranian conflict will have a long-term influence on Iraq's future. If America decides to leave Iraq, Iranian influence will grow bigger and (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad has expressed Iran's readiness to fill the vacuum."


Heavy rocket attack strikes U.S. base in southern Iraq

The U.S. base in Nassiriya, southern Iraq, came under heavy rocket attack on Wednesday, Thi-Qar police said. “Six Grad rockets were launched against U.S.-MNF military base in western Nassiriya”, Maj. Nasser al-Majidi, media spokesman for Thi-Qar police, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq - (VOI). The spokesman added, “The rockets wee launched from al-Bu Fayadh farmland area.”

Severed fingers of 5 hostages held in Iraq delivered to U.S.

U.S. authorities in Baghdad have received five severed fingers belonging to four Americans and an Austrian who were taken hostage more than a year ago in Iraq, officials here said today. The FBI is investigating the grisly development, and the families of the five kidnapped contractors have been notified, American officials said on condition of anonymity because only Washington officials are permitted to publicly discuss the matter.

US report shows increase in Iraq violence since Jan.

Iraq has seen some increased violence since January, including suicide and car bombings, despite a sharp overall decline in attacks in the past eight months, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The rise in violence was partly as a result of recent U.S.-led offensives against Islamist militants, including al Qaeda in Iraq, the Defense Department said in its latest quarterly report on the war. The release of the report, which covers December through February, coincided with a surge of violence that killed 46 people across Iraq on Tuesday. The Pentagon noted a rise in security incidents since January in Nineveh and Diyala provinces and other areas where it said al Qaeda in Iraq militants have flocked since being driven from former strongholds by U.S.-allied Sunni tribesmen. The report called the increased violence a "short term" result of military operations against insurgents that began in January. [Right……… - dancewater]

U.S. sees long fight to oust Al Qaeda in Mosul

US and Iraqi troops are now repairing breaches in an earthen berm, a 20-foot high barricade built around this northern city in 2004. It's perhaps the most visible part of a grinding fight for control of the last supposed urban stronghold of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Baghdad and other parts of Iraq still face sporadic insurgent attacks – as they have in recent days. But in Mosul, the thump of explosions is almost as much a part of the daily soundtrack as cars honking. The city averages 60 to 80 roadside bombs – exploded or found – per week.

….While the US is spending $7 million to repair the Mosul embankment and add checkpoints along the barrier, it also plans more permanent US-Iraqi security stations, or garrisons, inside some of the city's toughest neighborhoods in addition to the 20 that are already in place. But as Iraqi military and civilian leaders look on, they say that the security improvements alone will not end the cycle of violence in Mosul. A political solution is needed, they say, to end the struggle for power between ex-Saddam Hussein loyalists and newly powerful Kurds and Shiites. It's a solution, many hope, that will ultimately help drive Al Qaeda in Iraq elements from the city. Nineveh Province is home to nearly 3 million people, half of whom live in the capital, Mosul. At least 60 percent are Sunni Arab with the rest divided among Kurds, Kurdish-speaking Yazidis, Christians, and other minorities. One Sunni Arab politician estimates that nearly 100,000 members of the former Iraqi Army are in Mosul.

…………..In an effort to dispel rumors on the street, especially among Sunni Arabs, that Kurds were behind a high-profile bombing in January that killed almost 60 people, Maj. Gen. Riad Jalal, a Sunni Arab ex-Army officer and ranking member of the former ruling Baath Party, gathered local media to parade in front of them three men who allegedly carried out the attack. Cameras rolled as the men, including the owner of a popular local teahouse, confessed their guilt and expressed their regret in the presence of General Jalal's US military advisers. Iraqi reporters seemed skeptical about the men's guilt, but their prodding questions were met with this comment from the general: "Leaders do not bother with details." [As the next paragraph shows, these were false confessions. – dancewater]

When told that Mosul's residents were growing skeptical of his ability to restore security in the city, especially given the fact that the much-touted "decisive battle" against Al Qaeda in Iraq never materialized, he said, "There is no military operation in the traditional sense in Mosul because the enemy is amongst our sons and brothers, taking advantage of social and religious sympathies. The terrorists are like an octopus." Despite doubts by residents and political leaders alike about his abilities, the US has embraced Jalal, appointed in January by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to coordinate the activities of the Iraqi Army, police, and border guard in the province, as a "bright hope" in the city. But the US military says the January explosion, which blew up dozens of 55-gallon drums of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse basement here, was an accident, triggered when an Iraqi explosives expert accompanying a contingent headed by Tatarkhan detonated a small amount of explosives at the warehouse, not knowing what was stored in the basement. [An extremely high level of incompetence that cost 60 lives and many homes. – dancewater]

Pentagon: Iraq's Improvements Threatened by Corruption

[IMPROVEMENTS?? Hell, the place has been destroyed! – dancewater]

Gulf countries seek better relations with Iraq

Representatives of the gulf countries participating in the Arab Parliamentary Union conference in the city of Arbil said on Wednesday that they seek to establish better relations with Iraq. “The Kuwaiti government is keen to have best relations with Iraq and we need to boost bilateral ties in various domains,” Speaker of the Kuwaiti Ummah council (parliament) Jassem al-Khurafi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI). This is the first visit of its Kind by a Kuwaiti official to the country after the Iraqi invasion in 1990. “We are very happy to take part in the APU conference which asserts our keenness to Iraq’s unity,” the Kuwaiti lawmaker noted.

Bush Tied to Child Prostitution - Resignation or Impeachment Expected!

George Bush has been tied to a prostitution ring involving as many as 50,000 women and girls and is expected to resign or be impeached, according to Congressional sources. The prostitutes, some as young as 13, are among the 1.2 million desperate Iraqis who fled to Syria after Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the U.K. Independent. Bush's invasion destroyed the Iraqi government and unleashed a wave of political and sectarian violence that has killed over 1 million Iraqis and forced 4 million to become refugees, according to the UN. Facing starvation, as many as 50,000 women and girls have been forced into prostitution in Syria alone, according to Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association. "70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," 23-year-old Abeer told the New York Times. "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

U.S. Occupation of Iraq is Erasing Centuries of History.

Beyond the fallacious reasoning that led to the Bush regime’s disastrous decision to preemptively invade Iraq, to me -- the reckless, irreverent way they’ve destroyed the country -- and allowed its very history to be lost and pillaged, should in itself be a war crime.

It’s safe to say that Iraq is one of the largest world heritage sites on the planet; a rare storehouse of art and archeology. Throughout history, Iraq has laid claim to some of the oldest relics ever discovered; from some of the world’s oldest cities, and is often referred to as the "cradle of civilization."

But, new aerial images taken by a commercial satellite imaging company have revealed for the first time the extent of the harm done to archeological sites in southern Iraq since the initial invasion by the U.S. military and its coalition partners in March 2003. The images were captured by Digital Globe Corporation (DGC) and examined by archaeologist Elizabeth Stone @ Stony Brook University in New York.


Questions We Wish They'd Asked Five Years Ago

Here are most of the unasked questions that Berman and I put together then:

Why is the U.S. threatening an optional war if 59 percent of Americans do not support a U.S. invasion without the approval of the UN Security Council, according to a Feb. 24-26 USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll?

If our allies have the same information on WMD – and the Iraqi threat is so real – why do some of our friends refuse to take part in your coalition?

You praise the Iraqi people, say we have no quarrel with them, pledge to save them from the dictator and give them democracy. Would you tell us how many of them are likely to die in this war?

You say one major reason for taking this action is to protect Americans from terrorism. How do you respond to the warnings of CIA Director George Tenet and others that invading Iraq would in fact likely increase terrorism?

Rather than make us wait for a supplemental budget request – after the war has been launched – to tell us what it (and its aftermath) will cost, don't you think the American people, who will pay the bill, deserve to know the latest long-term estimates before the fact?

You say Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is evil enough to use them. If not during an American invasion of his country, then when? How many deaths on our side do you expect?

Why, if North Korea has the capability to produce six nuclear warheads by mid-summer, are you letting their very reluctant neighbors take the lead in deterring them while demanding that the U.S. take charge in confronting Saddam?

With the economy shaken and deficits climbing, how do you respond to critics who say you're ignoring domestic issues and the long-term economic security of this country by focusing so much of your time and resources on Iraq?

Why did the U.S. edit the 12,000-page Iraqi weapons report (as recently revealed) to the UN Security Council, removing all names of U.S. companies that sold weapons materials to the Iraqis in the past?

You claimed tonight that Iraq has started producing new missiles – but are these nothing more than less capable versions (fully permitted by the UN) of the missiles being destroyed now?

How do you respond to radio commentator Daniel Schorr's statement that the "coalition of the willing" is actually a "coalition of the billing"?

FACTBOX-Iraq war, the notable quotes

Following are notable quotes from before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

* July 11, 2002 - "Support for Saddam, including within his military organisation, will collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder." - Richard Perle, then Pentagon Defense Policy Board chairman.

* Sept. 19, 2002 - "I hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons." - Saddam Hussein in message to U.N. General Assembly.

* Nov. 14, 2002 - "The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months. But it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that." - Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

* Jan. 20, 2003 - "His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox. And he has an active programme to acquire and develop nuclear weapons." - Rumsfeld.

* March 16, 2003 - "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney to U.S. television network NBC.

* March 20, 2003 - "The criminal little Bush has committed a crime against humanity." - Saddam, on first day of invasion.


Britain regards Iraq as safe enough for failed asylum seekers: report

Britain now regards Iraq as safe enough for the return of failed asylum seekers currently residing in Britain, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Citing an internal Home Office (interior ministry) document, the newspaper said that 1,400 failed Iraqi asylum seekers currently given state support will be given three weeks to sign up to a voluntary return programme or find themselves stripped of British state housing and benefits. A letter dated March 6 and signed by Claire Bennett, the deputy director of the case resolution directorate at the Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA) notes that the interior ministry now regards travel to Iraq from Britain as "both possible and reasonable".

FACTBOX-Challenges facing Iraq, 5 years after US invasion

REFUGEES-- Iraq has been hard-hit by a brain-drain that has robbed it of much-needed doctors, engineers, scientists and other skilled professionals. They are among 2 million people who have fled the country. The United Nations estimates that only 36,000 people have returned since security improved. There are also 2 million people displaced internally.

Iraq refugee crisis 'deepening'

Squalid and dangerous conditions, lack of shelter and scarcity of food are threatening to worsen the living situation for those displaced by the war in Iraq, refugee experts said Tuesday. Five years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, experts told a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that serious problems persist for the 2.5 million people displaced inside Iraq and the two million who have fled to neighboring countries, according to UN figures. ….In 2007, 60 percent of IDPs "reported not receiving any food assistance since becoming displaced," while 20 percent "reported seeking shelter in abandoned public buildings or other informal settlements with no clean water or electricity."

How to Help Iraqi Refugees


The Day Real Change Comes to America

Only change in America’s enduring presence in Iraq; in the Middle East; or in the rest of the world can be considered real change! And for that to happen, it will first require that Americans acknowledge the fact that we have been, are, and continue to be an empire, says Ben Tanosborn. For all the changes being anticipated, promised or prophesized by the political windmills of those who aspire to take the White House reins. It appears that there will be few in number, slight in scope and domestic in nature. It’s all a symbolic gesture; nothing but cheap oratory coming from that gift of gab common to preachers and politicians, a gift which they exercise with total abandon, often magnified by a self-serving corporate press during our quadrennial political encounters – when we are faked into believing that people have a political voice, that democracy is in good hands in our republic.

Change, at least in America, has become solely a self-reminder of how much we may dislike ourselves in many of the things we do, or permit to have done, to others in the planet, or even to ourselves. But change – honest-to-goodness change – is something we can rest assured will not take place, not with Sen. Obama, not with Sen. Clinton; not even if either received an unprecedented and miraculous 70 percent of the popular vote – an unquestionable mandate to effect change. Change as a major transformation of our government, or of our civil society, or the way we do things, just won’t take place.

'Torture-tainted evidence' mars US legal image

The use of torture to extract evidence from detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has tarnished the US legal system's image and alienated allies in the war on terror, a rights group said Monday. "The use of evidence tainted by torture and other inhuman treatment is pervasive and systematic in the cases of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, and has already infected legal judgments made there," Human Rights First said in a report titled "Tortured Justice." By hearing testimony extracted under torture when trying Guantanamo detainees, the United States is "tainting the legitimacy of the proceedings, both at home and in the eyes of the international community; alienating US allies and empowering terrorists," it said.

Afghan war trend worse than Iraq: U.S. trainer

The tide of the war in Afghanistan is running against the United States and its allies, in contrast to an improving trend in Iraq, a U.S. military official and counter-insurgency expert said on Wednesday. "Afghanistan (is) in my eyes an under-resourced war, a war that needs a whole lot more advisers, a whole lot more economic aid," Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl told a security conference in Stockholm. "This war is the war I'm concerned about, a war in which the United States very much needs the help of our friends." Nagl commands the 1st battalion of the 34th armored regiment at Fort Riley, Kansas, training U.S. transition teams that embed with Iraqi and Afghan security forces. [One problem here – Iraq is not “improving”. – dancewater]


Anti-war protesters chant "war criminal" at Rice

Chanting "war criminal," anti-war protesters waved blood-colored hands at U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, but police held them back as she left a Capitol Hill hearing room. Earlier, Republicans had complained about the distraction from the group as they held up signs saying "Condi Kills Kids" during the hearing on the State Department budget. But the chairman of the House of Representatives committee, a New York Democrat, declined to eject the protesters. "We're here in the United States of America. And as long as they don't disrupt this proceeding and as long as they're silent, they will be welcome," said Rep. Nita Lowey, who runs the subcommittee overseeing State Department appropriations. "But they may not stand and they may not disrupt the proceedings." Q "There is no question I support the resistance," says Taha Khalaf, a Sunni Arab resident of the violence-ravaged west side. [of Mosul – dancewater] "I live on 'death road' and my neighborhood looks like it was hit by an earthquake. I do not have a job and the Americans run our provincial government."

Vets Break Silence on Iraq War Crimes

U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those countries. "The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it," said Liam Madden, a former Marine and member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War. "That's left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the American public about what the true nature of military occupation looks like." Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents of U.S. brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples," as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the group says, of "an increasingly bloody occupation."

Please go to this website to sign the petition to support IVAW.

Quote of the day: On one raid with U.S. troops, I see children chasing after the soldiers, asking them for candy. But when they learn I speak Arabic, they tell me how much they like the Mahdi Army and Muqtada al-Sadr. "The Americans are donkeys," one boy says. "When they are here we say, 'I love you,' but when they leave we say, 'Fuck you.'" ~ from the article “The Myth of the Surge” by Nir Rosen