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Lets's talk about democracy
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Friday, 8 October 2004
Tom Delay gets his comeuppance. Finally!
News Item:

The second-most-powerful Republican in the House [Not quite. The Speaker is his former deputy.]Tom DeLay of Texas, rejected calls Thursday from Democrats and watchdog groups that he step down as majority leader after the House ethics committee admonished him for abusing his power.

DeLay, a 10-term House veteran, said he remains focused on fighting terrorism and preventing another 9/11. [He's stealing so the terrorists can't.] "By the Democrats' actions today, it is clear they are focused on something else entirely: a smear campaign," he said.

Republicans must answer - do they want an ethically unfit person to be their majority leader, or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?" House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

USA Today says the congressional ethics panel...

...told DeLay that he created an appearance of favoritism when he mingled at a 2003 golf outing with executives of Westar Energy of Kansas.

(A) tournament at a Virginia resort came just days after the executives contributed $25,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fund-raising organization associated with DeLay.

In addition, company executives donated $33,200 to six House campaigns.

The committee concluded DeLay was "in a position to significantly influence" legislation Westar sought because he is a House leader and at the time was involved in House-Senate efforts to negotiate an energy bill.

The legislation sought by Westar was inserted in the energy bill by another lawmaker, but eventually was withdrawn.

DeLay also raised "serious concerns" by contacting the Federal Aviation Administration in 2003 to chase down a Texas Democrat's private plane. State

Democratic legislators were fleeing Texas to prevent Republican state lawmakers from passing a DeLay-engineered redistricting plan.

The K-Steet Project.

(There are so many things Delay is into but here are a few more glaring examples of the shaddy associations this guy is into.)

The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom Delay.

[It's not bad enough lobbyist have too much power as it is but the brilliant plan Norquist and Delay came up with is to bully lobbyist to only contribute to republicans and if they don't they don't get what they want. Very insidiuos.]

Tom Delay on the move...

The American Radio project compiled a list of all the congressional trips and who pays for them.

See Power Trips.

See who pays for Delay's travel...

Chris Bell is the former congressman who got the ball rolling on Delay...

From a Chris Bell press release:
(Thanks to Taking on Tom Delay)

The Myth:

"This investigation isn't about me", explained House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Tuesday about his colleague's indictments. "All I did was help raise money. I didn't have anything to do with where it went." As reported in today's Los Angeles Times.

The Facts:

Although Mr. DeLay claims to have no connection with the three associates indicted on Tuesday, his statements do not agree with the facts. According to deposition testimony offered by defendant John Colyandro, the executive director of TRMPAC, DeLay is directly involved with TRMPAC.

DeLay served was the head of TRMPAC's advisory board and was integrally involved in its administration.
According to the deposition testimony of John Colyandro, there were regular conference calls "to discuss matters related to the overall administration of the committee."

"When it came to broadly making decisions about who, which candidates we would support and with what amount of financial assistance, at that point the advisory board was involved with those types of decisions." - John Colynadro, sworn testimony

An October 4, 2002, memo from TRMPAC fundraiser Susan Lilly discussed an upcoming conference call with donors in which Rep. DeLay would "update everyone on TRMPAC's efforts to date and to discuss our strategy for victory in the final weeks of the campaign.

See more on the really despicable story on ripping off the indians and Tom's role in it at Taking on Tom Delay and Inidan Givers:(post this blog Oct. 1)

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:02 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 October 2004 5:31 PM EDT
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Thursday, 7 October 2004
Israel safer now that GIs are dying in Iraq.

Cheney said in the debate with John Edwards that the reduction of suicide bombings in Israel is because we invaded Iraq.

"The suicide bombers, in part, were generated by Saddam Hussein, who paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. I personally think one of the reasons that we don't have as many suicide attacks today in Israel as we've had in the past is because Saddam Hussein is no longer in business."

That's an interesting idea. There might be a slight problem, though, with the whole notion that we went to war to make Israel safer.

Clearly Iraq isn't any safer. According to the Post "Car bombings in Iraq have become commonplace in recent weeks; U.S. officials counted more than 70 during September."

Why is it that we're losing 2 to 3 GIs a day through car bombings and road side explosives? It is pretty much established [Final Weapons inspectr's Report] there was no threat from Iraq, so the only reason left is that we were follwing orders from Israel, right?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:25 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 October 2004 4:27 PM EDT
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Rumsfeld ready to cut and run?

According to right-winger Robert Novak, there's a wiff of "bug out" in the administration. While they're accusing Kerry and Edwards of wanting to cut and run, they're thinking maybe a "successful" election in January might be declared "victory."

Nokaksays "When I reported in this column Sept. 20 that there is ''strong feeling'' in the ''Bush administration policymaking apparatus'' that ''U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year,'' Republican politicians -- most recently Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman -- disagreed. But Don Rumsfeld has not contradicted me."

He quotes an interview Rumsfeld did with Rita Crosby of FOX, which I've expanded on a bit:

Q: You think we'll have a total elimination of U.S. troops?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, let me put it this way, when the United States of America puts forces into a country, we do it to try to help that country. Unlike other countries, we're not going to occupy a country or to take over their real estate. We want to go in and be helpful and leave. That's basically the American way. [Except for Hawaii and Puerto Rico and Guam and a few other places..]

And so, you know, it's conceivable there've been countries like South Korea that ask us to leave some troops there afterwards to provide a more secure environment and we've done that on occasion.

But for the most part, our hope is that we can train up enough Iraqi -- and in the case of Iraq and Afghan and in the case of Afghanistan, security forces -- so that they can take over security responsibilities for themselves. [Too bad Bremer fired the 400,000 Iraqi Army, they might be coming in handy right now.] That's the best way to do it.

Q: You've said that maybe we might pull out before conditions are, quote, "peaceful and perfect." [More untidyness?] When is the earliest that you think we could pull out of Iraq?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, the president's said very correctly that we will stay there as long as we're needed and not a minute longer. Now, that part of the world tends not to be perfectly peaceful.

Q: It never will be, do you think?

SEC. RUMSFELD: It never will be, is my view. And do I think that when we leave, it will be a perfectly peaceful situation, no. I think it'll be a situation where the Iraqis have developed the ability to manage their situation from a security standpoint and we will have a mutual agreement that it makes sense now to bring down the coalition forces and leave.

Q: Could that be as early right after the elections? There is some buzz that may be right after the elections, we may see a -

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, no. No, no.

Q: Start pulling out?

SEC. RUMSFELD: No. We've already started. We had over 150,000 troops there originally and we're down to 137 right now - 137,000.

Q: Do you think we'll see more right after the elections being pulled out?

SEC. RUMSFELD: It depends totally on the security situation in the country. And we would, of course, be working with our coalition forces and bring them down at the same time we would be bringing down our own forces. And at the same time, the Iraqi Security Forces will be increasing.

They're over 100,000 [Total BS] now getting towards 150,000 by the end of this year in anticipation of the elections and then they'll go still higher or thereafter and at some point, they will be sufficient to do the job.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:12 PM EDT
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Saturday, 2 October 2004
You're free to go (to Saudi Arabia) continued.

There's a hitch in the Esam Hamdi story.

(Man, you know we're seriously riding off the rails when the Saudis are questioning our methods of due process.)

NY Times:

Saudi officials, clearly irritated, said they found the monitoring provision of Mr. Hamdi's release agreement unreasonable.

They also noted that the supervision duties, which entail ensuring that Mr. Hamdi does not leave the country for five years, were imposed upon Saudi Arabia even though no Saudi officials were involved in the negotiations.

"I don't know why we should have to baby-sit him," said a senior Saudi official, who asked to remain unnamed because of the diplomatic implications of the issue.

Last June, the Supreme Court, in a rebuke of Bush administration policy, ruled that Mr. Hamdi could not be held incommunicado and that he could challenge his detention before a judge. Soon afterward, rather than give him a day in court, the government began negotiating his release.

"Mr. Hamdi has been in U.S. custody for three years, and if they had charges against him, then they would have charged him in the U.S.," said Nail al-Jubeir, spokesman for the Saudi embassy. "We have not seen any evidence that he violated the law."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:54 PM EDT
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Friday, 1 October 2004

Gen. Abazaid says the Iraqi insurgents "haven't won a single engagement with American forces." Of course, neither did the Viet Cong, so I'm not quite sure what point he's trying to make there. [Battles, wars, strategy, tactics, who knows? Just a bunch of buzz words. Freedom is on the march. (Fuhrer, Italy is on the march!)]

I guess the troops can come home now right? They haven't lost a single battle after all...

According to the president when asked in the debatelast night when the troops would be coming home

"And so the best indication about when we can bring our troops home -- which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home [Parish the thought!]; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective -- is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility.

I had the honor of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He's a strong, courageous leader. He believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people.

He doesn't want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people.

He believes, like I believe, that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom. {Looks like a lot of them already are, but against us.]

You know, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. [Like on 9-11 and WMD?] And the enemy only has to be right once to hurt us.

There's a lot of good people working hard.[Math is hard! Quoth Barbie.]

And so, the answer to your question is: When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that their stability and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation that's free; that's when. [So, Negroponte will decide. See, its out of Bush's hands!]

What about those WMD?

"My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat."

You mean the intelligence Colin Powel said was bogus today?

"The only thing [the only thing?] where we got it wrong and where our presentation did not hold up was the actual stockpiles," Powell said. [Oh, those... And to palm tree] "We've seen nothing to suggest that he had actual stockpiles. That was not right."

He added, "As we've gone back and looked through the intelligence, there are indications that we had bad sourcing that we should have caught. For that I am disappointed and regret that that information was not correct." [Ooopse!]

Miscalculations? (Why didn't they stand up and let us shoot them?)

LEHRER: New question, Mr. President, two minutes. You have said there was a, quote, "miscalculation," of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?

BUSH: No, what I said was that, because we achieved such a rapid victory, more of the Saddam loyalists were around. I mean, we thought we'd whip more of them going in.

BUSH: But because Tommy Franks did such a great job in planning the operation, we moved rapidly, and a lot of the Baathists and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought they would stay and fight, but they didn't. [ D'oh! ]

And now we're fighting them now. And it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens [FOX?] how hard it is. But it's necessary work.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:37 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 October 2004 4:28 PM EDT
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Indian givers!
This is an amazing story. Besides the obvious idiocy of the entire thing what's intersting is who these guys had as firends...all the usual suspects

Washington Post:

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon formed a secret partnership that corruptly influenced Indian tribal elections in order to bilk tribes that operate gambling casinos out of more than $66 million in fees, lawmakers charged yesterday during an unusual Senate committee hearing.

Abramoff, appearing under subpoena before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, endured blistering attacks from senator after senator, turning aside all questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Scanlon dodged U.S. marshals who attempted to serve him with a subpoena compelling him to appear, according to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who with the panel's chairman, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), has been leading the seven-month investigation into Abramoff's and Scanlon's activities.

Nighthorse Campbell said the documentary trail developed by the committee, including the e-mails released yesterday, tell a story of unbounded greed. He said he believes Abramoff privately showed bigotry and contempt for tribal officials who were awarding him and Scanlon multimillion-dollar contracts, referring to them as "idiots" and "troglodytes."

"Do you refer to all your clients as 'morons'?" he demanded of Abramoff. The witness, flanked by lawyer Abbe D. Lowell, looked abashed but did not answer, citing his right against self-incrimination.

The activities of Abramoff, once a powerful lobbyist with extensive ties to Republican leaders, and Scanlon, a former spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Tex.), are also being investigated by a federal grand jury in Washington.

Lawmakers yesterday cited the pair's e-mail traffic, which the panel subpoenaed from Greenberg Traurig, where Abramoff was head of government relations until March, when he quit under pressure.

When Scanlon complained on March 5, 2003, about an Agua Caliente tribal member, Abramoff counseled: "I think the key thing to remember with all these clients is that they are annoying, but that the annoying losers are the only ones which have this kind of money and part with it so quickly."

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) strained to find words to describe the e-mails and other evidence, calling the two men's activities "a cesspool of greed, a disgusting pattern, certainly, of moral corruption, possibly of criminal corruption. . . . a pathetic, disgusting example of greed run amok."

"I think all of us know this is the most extraordinary pattern of abuse to come before this committee in the 18 years I've served here," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who described the pair's conduct as "scuzzy" and "outrageous."

Further from the NY Times:

Documents cited...that the men dropped the names of high-powered Congressional leaders like Mr. DeLay to help persuade the tribes to contribute large sums to Republican organizations like Americans for Tax Reform [AKA: Grover Norquist.], as well as to obscure groups like the Capital Athletic Foundation, a Washington group that Mr. Abramoff controlled.

Mr. Campbell said the six tribes - the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California, the Tigua Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo of El Paso and the Pueblo Sandia Tribe of New Mexico, all of which operate or want to operate casinos - paid Mr. Scanlon more than $66 million, with more than $21 million of it going to Mr. Abramoff.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who is expected to continue hearings when he replaces Mr. Campbell as chairman next year, compared the actions of Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon to those of others who have taken advantage of Indians over generations and said, "What sets this tale apart, what makes it truly extraordinary, is the extent and degree of the apparent exploitation and deceit."

Mr. McCain referred to e-mail messages between the men that he said reflected manipulation of the tribes, including one effort that led to a contribution of $25,000 to a research group controlled by Mr. Scanlon.

Mr. McCain said the group was headed by "two of Mr. Scanlon's beach buddies, one a yoga instructor, the other a lifeguard."
Some messages referred to tribal leaders as "morons," "idiots," "troglodytes," "monkeys" and other derogatory names, Mr. Campbell said.

In his first question to Mr. Abramoff, Mr. Campbell asked, "Why would you want to work for people you have that much contempt for?"

Two tribal leaders followed Mr. Abramoff to the witness table. Richard M. Milanovich, chairman of the Agua Caliente band, and Bernie Sprague, subchief of the Saginaw Chippewa, told the panel that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon had inserted themselves in tribal elections by currying favor with candidates who later voted to award them contracts. The leaders said they had been powerless to oppose the contracts because the two had secured support from a majority of leaders.

"There is not a word in my language that is strong enough to describe what these people have done to my tribe," Mr. Sprague told the panel.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 1 October 2004 3:25 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 29 September 2004
Tony B-liar
A senior Italian politician says he believes a ransom of $1m or more was paid for the release of two female Italian aid workers kidnapped in Iraq.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said no money was paid. [Let's see how many more Italian hostages get taken.]

But Gustavo Selva, head of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the denial was purely "official".

Meanwhile, British hostage Ken Bigley has appeared in a new video aired by Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera, accusing Tony Blair of ignoring his plight.

Squatting down in a cage and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Mr Bigley said his captors did not want to kill him, and he accused the UK prime minister of "lying".

Blair to the rescue:

...He doesn't care about me. I'm just one person," Mr Bigley said.

Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain told BBC News Interactive he could "not imagine the horror" that Ken Bigley and his family were experiencing.

However, he said "it was not possible to accede to the demands of hostage-takers because that will encourage them to keep doing it to other British citizens". [As if they can stop them from taking more regardless.]

Blair says the war was justified, so he has to keep justifying it over and over because no one seems to believe him. In this case repeating a lie long enough doesn't make it so.

The biggest whopper in an interview with the BBCwas this one, worthy of Rumsfeld:

"The action in Iraq had led to Libya winding up its weapons programme, and meant there was a "better chance of getting Iran and North Korea into compliance than we have ever had", he said."

Yeah sure, that'll be happening. You can see North Korea is just shaking in their boots. Iran is buckling. And Moammar promises not to plot any more assignation attempts after he kills Crown Prince Abdullah.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:45 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 September 2004 11:47 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 September 2004
Big bully on the block...

Syria May Be Subject to Attack, Israeli Deputy Minister Says

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Syria may be subject to Israeli strikes to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel, Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim said, calling the neighboring country an ``innkeeper'' for terrorists.

Boim spoke a day after a car bomb in Damascus killed a top leader in the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. Syria blamed Israel for the killing and said it bore responsibility for the consequences, AFP reported, citing unidentified officials in Damascus.

``Syria is acting as an innkeeper giving shelter to terrorist headquarters,'' Boim said in an interview with Israel Radio. ``As a result Syria isn't immune to any operations we take to prevent terror attacks.''

[Hey, preemption, everybody's doing it!]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:55 PM EDT
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Oil Weh!

Financial Times:

Crude futures hit fresh record highs on Monday amid concerns of supply disruptions in Nigeria, where rebels are threatening an uprising in the oil-producing region.

The latest ethnic unrest in Nigeria comes as oil markets are already concerned about supply issues in Iraq and Russia.

"While such periodic unrest has become somewhat common, the disturbance comes atop already heightened concerns about supply availability headed towards the northern hemisphere winter," said Michael Rothman, chief energy strategist at Merrill Lynch.

Royal Dutch/Shell Group said it had shut up to 40,000 barrels per day of oil production for security reasons. Shell last week evacuated 235 staff from two oilfields as government troops launched raids on nearby communities to track down militants.

Shell's output loss follows a 10 per cent drop in Nigerian output last month. Edmund Daukoru, presidential adviser on petroleum, told Reuters that Nigeria had reduced supply to base capacity of 2.25m b/d. Nigeria had been pumping at full capacity of 2.5m b/d until July to take advantage of record high oil prices, but analysts said the output surge took a heavy toll on ageing oil infrastructure.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:27 PM EDT
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Powell and Rumsfeld. Frick and Frack.


US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that the insurgency in Iraq was "getting worse" and could hinder the organization of Iraqi elections planned for January.

Yes, it's getting worse," Powell told ABC television.

"And the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic elections." [Neither does Florida.]

"Right now our goal is, and I think it's an achievable goal, is to have full, free and fair elections across the whole country." [Dude, that's some awesome weed!]

The top US military commander in the region, General John Abizaid also cautioned that "we will fight our way through elections" in Iraq, and that he could not predict that the entire country would be able to vote.

Powell told CNN that: "There will be polling stations that are shot at. There will be insurgents who will still be out there who will try to keep people from voting.

"I think what we have to keep shooting for [Literally?], and what is achievable, is to give everybody the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election, to make the election fully credible, and something that will stand the test of the international community's examination," he said.

Reality Check:
(Washington Post)

Attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 250 Iraqis and 29 U.S. military personnel, according to figures released by Iraq's Health Ministry and the Pentagon.

A sampling of daily reports produced during that period by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 70 each day. In contrast, 40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to military officials.

Reports covering seven days in a recent 10-day period depict a nation racked by all manner of insurgent violence, from complex ambushes involving 30 guerrillas north of Baghdad on Monday to children tossing molotov cocktails at a U.S. Army patrol in the capital's Sadr City slum on Wednesday.

On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks surround nearly every major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for Kurdish-controlled areas in the far north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several that had undergone a period of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily attacks.

In number and scope, the attacks compiled in the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence that contrasts sharply with assessments by Bush administration officials and Iraq's interim prime minister that the instability is contained to small pockets of the country.

Allawi told Washington Post reporters and editors on Friday that "for now the only place which is not really that safe is Fallujah, downtown Fallujah. The rest, there are varying degrees. Some -- most -- of the provinces are really quite safe."

"People are very naive if they think Baghdad is safe," said Falah Ahmed, 26, a cigarette vendor in center city. A nearby tailor, Hisham Nuaimi, 52, said Allawi "is either deceiving himself or the Americans."

"What do you call a city with a car bomb every day?" he said. "Is this the security they are achieving?"

There also has been an unusual spike in the number of attacks to the north of the capital. More attacks have been reported in the northern cities of Mosul, Samarra and Tikrit over the past two weeks than in Fallujah and Ramadi, two areas of frequent fighting in Anbar.

Military officials contend, however, that does not mean the restive areas west of Baghdad -- the area known as the Sunni Triangle -- are no longer insurgent strongholds. The likely explanation, the officials said, is that U.S. Marines stationed in Anbar have sharply reduced their patrolling, making them less vulnerable to roadside attacks. But that strategy, officials say, has allowed insurgent cells to expand in the province.

"There are fewer attacks here because we're out on the road less," an officer at the Marine headquarters near Fallujah said on condition of anonymity. "But you shouldn't conclude from that that things are any safer."

In his remarks Thursday, Allawi did not specify the three provinces he deemed insecure, nor did he specify what he meant when he contended that violence in those provinces had been limited to "certain pockets."

But since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Baghdad and three of the country's largest and most populous provinces -- Anbar in the west, Salahuddin to the north and Babil to the south -- have been the principal hotbeds of insurgent violence.

And according to the Kroll reports, recent violence appears to have been widespread rather than limited. On Wednesday, for instance, attacks in Salahuddin province occurred in Taji, Balad, Tikrit, Samarra, Baiji, Thuliyah and Dujayl -- the seven largest population centers in the area.

[Don't read this, you're giving aid and comfort to the enemy.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:25 PM EDT
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