The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich

Saturday, September 29, 2007

News & Views 09/29/07

Photo: Iraqi men stand in front of three coffins during a funeral of victims after a U.S. air strike in the Sihha district in Dora southern Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Sept. 28, 2007. Iraqi police and witnesses said U.S. troops backed by helicopter gun ships raided an apartment building in a primarily Sunni neighborhood in southern Baghdad on killing at list 10 civilians and wounding 12. The U.S. military said it was checking into the report. (AP Photo/Loay Hameed)

To our Muslim readers: Ramadan Mubarak


Security May Trump Ethnicity In Kirkuk

A staunch Arab nationalist, Ismail Hadidi once dreaded the possibility that his ethnically diverse city would be swallowed up by the neighboring semiautonomous Kurdish region and cut off from the Baghdad government. But the provincial councilman is also a practical man. And when he compares the chaos and violence in the Iraqi capital with the prosperity and peace next door in the three-province Kurdistan Regional Government area, teaming up with the Kurds doesn't seem like such a bad idea. He's even considering buying some property in the Kurdish enclave. "The people of Kirkuk were afraid of this," said Hadidi, a Sunni Arab tribal leader. "But given the situation, I believe most people will move toward being part of Kurdistan, because what the people want above all is security." Uncertainty clouds Iraq's future, but not so much here. The Kurdish region's exploding economic and political power has begun to shape northern Iraq's reality.


Afrah talked about her kindness, Ghania would hide away her favorite foods for her or pick up clothes or trinkets from the market that reminded her of her daughter. Ghania is gone, killed at the back of a bus by what witnesses said were bullets from Blackwater security guards on Sept. 16 in Nisour square. While they protected Americans Iraqis died, witnesses said. No one has come to this tiny home in Hurriyah to ask this family what happened. No investigators from the Ministry of Interior or the U.S. Embassy or the joint U.S. and Iraqi commission. No one has asked them about compensation or what this has done to their family. Ghania died while she held her 27-year-old daughter in her arms in the back of a bus, protecting her from the bullets. Her family lives in a tiny two-bedroom home where instead of doors, sheets of cloth conceal the rooms from each other and the home from the street. Her poor husband can't think about anything but his loving wife. They spent 40 years together and at night when everyone has gone home he sees her in front of him. No one else can put up with his stubborn personality, she love him, she alone. He tries to stop his mind and goes to the street in the dead of night and chain-smokes. But his love and need for her has grown since her death. Nothing will be enough to compensate this 67-year-old for his loss. For Afrah, the image of her mother's body in the back of a pick up truck with two other bodies is engrained in her mind. She wakes up and sleeps with it in her mind. When her mother died she kissed her and turned to God, "We belong to God and we return to God," she prayed. But I see the pain in Afrah's tears.

Short Stories

I don’t know how to express my feelings when Leila my boss and I visited the man who lost his wife in the incident of Al Nosoor Square 13 days ago. I saw him fighting his tears and he didn’t allow them to run away from his eyes. I could feel the difficulty he faced when he was talking. I could feel that he wanted to choose the best words to show his love to the woman who lived almost 40 years with him. When my boss asked him about the love story that ended with their marriage, he was speechless and he told her addressing us all“its like your love and your love and your love”. I wished I can do something for him but I couldn’t. He asked m e for one thing. He said “you can bring me a copy for the newspaper that publishes my story, otherwise, I would feel that you cheated me”. I apologized and said that I cant do that because the agency I work for is in the USA but I promised him to bring him a copy fro the story from the internet. The man accepted both my apology and offer. Yesterday, I got a copy from the net and I went to his house. His son saw was out. I told him that I want to see his father. I saw the man. He looked even weaker than three days ago. He lost part of his life. The visit was very short. I said “well sir, I just want to give you this and I gave him the copy of the story. I saw sad smile on his face. A smile said “Thank you for bringing the story of the death of my love”


Iraq rejects call for federalism

Iraq's Shi'ite vice president yesterday rejected a US Senate resolution pushing the Baghdad government to give more control to Iraq's ethnically divided regions. He insisted federalism was an internal Iraqi matter. The Arab League also firmly rejected the US plan and lambasted Washington for destroying Iraq and turning it into the main base for Al Qaeda.

Iraq PM rejects U.S. Congress call for federalism

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday a U.S. Senate resolution calling for the creation of separate Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish federal regions in Iraq would be a disaster for his country.

59 Iraqi troops held in raid

Iraqi and U.S. special forces have arrested at least 59 army officers and enlisted men accused in killings, bombings and kidnappings in the latest case linking elements of the Iraqi army to sectarian militias and criminal gangs, authorities announced Wednesday. The U.S.-Iraqi raid Tuesday on the Defense Ministry's military academy in the east Baghdad neighborhood of Rustamiya provided the latest evidence of the Iraqi army's continuing struggle to weed out lawless elements. Authorities said the academic dean was the ringleader of a criminal gang on campus. The group was wanted in connection with killings, bombings and kidnappings, including the slaying two years ago of the school's director, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. The present director, kidnapped several weeks ago, was freed Tuesday. "The individuals detained had allegedly used security personnel to murder, kidnap and conduct attacks using improvised explosive devices and EFPs," or explosively formed penetrators, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner said.


Turkey, Iraq sign terrorism deal amid border row

Turkey and Iraq signed an anti-terrorism deal on Friday targeting Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, but failed to agree on a plan that would have let Turkish troops chase militants across their shared border. Ankara claims the right under international law to send its troops across the mountainous frontier in "hot pursuit" of guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but Iraqi Kurds opposed any concession by Baghdad on this issue. "We could not reach agreement on the article concerning improvement of border security cooperation. Our negotiations on this issue will continue," Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said after the signing ceremony. An estimated 3,000 PKK guerrillas use northern Iraq as a springboard from which to attack security and civilian targets inside Turkish territory.


Report Says Hussein Was Open To Exile Before 2003 Invasion

Less than a month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein signaled that he was willing to go into exile as long as he could take with him $1 billion and information on weapons of mass destruction, according to a report of a Feb. 22, 2003, meeting between President Bush and his Spanish counterpart published by a Spanish newspaper yesterday. The meeting at Bush's Texas ranch was a planning session for a final diplomatic push at the United Nations. The White House was preparing to introduce a tough new Security Council resolution to pressure Hussein, but most council members saw it as a ploy to gain their authorization for war. Spain's prime minister at the time, Jose Maria Aznar, expressed hope that war might be avoided - or at least supported by a U.N. majority - and Bush said that outcome would be "the best solution for us" and "would also save us $50 billion," referring to the initial U.S. estimate of what the Iraq war would cost. But Bush made it clear in the meeting that he expected to "be in Baghdad at the end of March." "It's like Chinese water torture," he said of the U.N. negotiations. "We've got to put an end to it."


Senator Kennedy's Statement on the Passage of the Iraqi Refugee Amendment

Last night the Senate acted and stood up to help Iraqi refugees. I want to thank Senators Levin and Senators McCain for adopting my amendment, the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007, cosponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators: Senators Smith, Levin, Hagel, Biden, Brownback, Lieberman, Leahy, Snowe, Durbin, Voinovich, Feinstein, Collins, Obama, Dole, Menendez, Mikulski, and Clinton. The need is especially urgent for those whose work for the United States has put them in danger. Because they supported us, insurgents have repeatedly threatened to kill them. Many have lost their homes, their property, and their livelihoods. They face ongoing threats every single day. Some have fled the country and are waiting in refugee camps, and others are in hiding. All of them hope that the United States will not forget their sacrifices. Still others have tried to flee, only to be stopped at the border, trapped in a country that cannot protect them, abandoned by a country—our country—that they believed would set them free. Others continue their work, living in fear of the day that the insurgents punish them for working with Americans.

How to Help Iraqi Refugees

ANOTHER Way to help: The Collateral Repair Project


division after liberation

Four years ago the USA invaded Iraq on the pretext to liberate people of Iraq, at that time we believed them although we weren't occupied country but we were happy because we used to consider Saddam and his followers occupiers who exhausted Iraqi's fortunes to their own benefit and deprive Iraqi people from their rights. Now we realize that in spite of everything we were happier with our former occupier, at least we were a unified country, suffer as ONE body, live together and love each other. We weren't hearing of dividing or separating even though Kurdistan enjoyed autonomy but we knew that Kurdistan is an indivisible part of Iraq. No one dare to think of separating it.

Today the liberator plans to divide the country into three Petty Countries?. Why? Because they can't protect it as one piece, they must divide it to control it? I wonder how Saddam governed it as one piece. How we supported each other in sorrow and in joy? What happened now? What make us separate our neighborhoods from each other?? This Sunni neighborhood and this Shiite neighborhood.. These belong to Saudi and those belong to Iran - why?? We used to belong to Iraq all of us. Who will gain benefit from this division? Certainly not Iraqi people. Iraq today is occupied and divided country, occupied according to UN decision and divided according to US' decision. They took decision to divide Iraq into three areas Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd. I wondering - they liberated us ????? Or they bought us?????? Oh God if they bought us that mean we are slaves now. When they talk and decide as if Iraq is private property not sovereign state.

Quote of the day: The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other. (Bertrand Russell: Freedom, Harcourt Brace, 1940)