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Lets's talk about democracy
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Thursday, 11 November 2004
More wounded

FRANKFURT, Germany (APAP) - A steady stream of wounded from Iraq, mostly from fighting in Fallujah, has begun arriving at the U.S. military's main hospital in Europe, an official said Thursday.
Two planeloads with around 90 wounded who could not be treated in Iraq were expected later Thursday at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, said spokeswoman Marie Shaw.

"We are very busy," Shaw said. "We have seen an increase of patient arrival since the outbreak of the Fallujah conflict."

She said 38 injured soldiers arrived on Monday, 23 more on Tuesday, and 64 on Wednesday.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:21 PM EST
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Crunching numbers...


The Fallujah campaign has...sent a stream of American wounded to the military's main hospital in Europe.

Planes carrying just over 100 bloodied and broken troops were arriving Thursday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. They join 125 wounded soldiers flown there already this week.

The large number of wounded sent to Germany suggests that fighting may be more intense -- at least in some areas -- than the military had initially indicated. Only seriously wounded troops are flown to Landstuhl.

In contrast, it's puppy dogs and daffodils according to the military.

Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division, also said 69 American service members and 34 Iraqi security forces had been wounded since the assault began Monday against insurgents in the Sunni Muslim stronghold.

Natonski said the operation was "ahead of schedule" and he saluted "the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and our Iraq comrades" taking part in the fight.

[In addition, the number of killed is a little off. Yesterday it was 10 U.S. soldiers dead now its at 18. I understand everything is going right on schedule but we've lost more dead in 24 hours than over the past three days.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:58 PM EST
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Falluja, the second phase.


US marines in Falluja have come under sustained attack from several different directions in the headquarters they have set up in the Iraqi city.
The BBC's Paul Wood, who is at the scene, said there was sniper fire from four or five points on the horizon.

The insurgents may have regrouped, he says, after US-led troops took over large parts of the city.
Meanwhile, two US Cobra helicopters were hit by small-arms and rocket fire in separate incidents and forced to land.

The BBC's Paul Wood says troops are coming under sniper fire all over the city, he says.

US forces say they have taken control of the district of Jolan, just north of the centre.
However, a witness told the BBC that US forces were still fighting for control there at midday.

Villages to the west of the city, thought by the US to be clear of insurgents, are also reporting sniper, mortar and rocket-propelled grenade fire.


Abu Shams al-Fallujy, a member of the National Islamic Resistance in Falluja, told Aljazeera that US forces had entered the city's centre rapidly because they were surrounded in the Julan neighbourhood and were being targeted by snipers

With respect to Julan, al-Askary, Nizal, Jibail and the industrial quarter, they are still under control of the resistance which vows not to allow the US forces to control the town unless it is turned into dust," al-Fallujy said.

"The situation in the town is very critical. The US forces began a retreat under intense resistance fire. They are conducting a ferocious aerial bombing and artillery barrage. They have not accomplished any advance towards the edges of the town," al-Fallujy added.

A US officer said they expected to take command of the city before the weekend.

"If everything goes as planned we will take full control of the city in the next 48 hours," he said on condition of anonymity, adding that it would take "at least 10 days to clear the city".

Then we can go level Mosul:


Insurgents have set police stations ablaze, stole weapons and brazenly roamed the streets of Mosul as Iraq's third largest city appeared to be sliding out of control, residents said.

Explosions and fire from assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades echoed across the city and columns of smoke rose from at least two police stations set alight. At least seven police stations have been attacked in the past 48 hours.

As US forces battle to suppress insurgents in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, it appears many fighters may have fled to other cities where they are launching new attacks.

In the past three days, there has been a step up in guerrilla activity in Samarra, Baiji, Baquba, Tikrit, Ramadi and parts of Baghdad - across the Sunni Muslim heartland.

In Mosul, a city of about three million people, insurgents attacked a group of Iraqi National Guardsmen blocking a bridge in the city centre, killing five of them and destroying three vehicles, witnesses said.

And then on to Baghdad:

A car bomb has exploded near a police patrol in a central Baghdad square, killing at least seven civilians, destroying cars and devastating a nearby building, witnesses said.

A Reuters reporter saw four bodies in burnt-out cars at the scene of the blast, in a busy commercial district.

Dr Raad Jabbar at al-Kindi hospital said seven civilians were killed.

There were 18 wounded people at his clinic, he said, and others were taken to another hospital. There was no word on the final toll.

"A car bomb hit a police patrol, wounding several policemen," a police officer at the scene said.

The explosion caused a nearby building to collapse into a pile of rubble and twisted metal. Passersby and rescue workers searched the ruins for survivors.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:06 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 11 November 2004 12:12 PM EST
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Arafat is dead. Now, the real fun begins.


Under Palestinian law, Parliament Speaker Rauhi Fattouh, a virtual unknown, is to become caretaker president until elections are held in 60 days.

"We can be certain transition will be smooth, and the Palestinian people deserve to have free and fair elections," Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told The Associated Press.

He urged the United States to ensure that elections can he be held. In the past, Palestinian officials have said they cannot organize a vote until Israeli troops withdraw from West Bank towns and cities they reoccupied in a major military offensive in 2002.

[Wishful thinking? Somehow I don't get the impression Sharon is just going to let the Palestinians vote for whoever they want. You vote for who we want and we'll let you have a vote.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:12 AM EST
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Election result causes suicide.

The Guardian:

November 8, 2004
A man apparently distraught at the outcome of last week's presidential election, climbed into the pit marking the spot in New York where the twin towers once stood, and shot himself, the authorities said at the weekend.

City police told reporters the body of Andrew Veal, 25, of Athens, Georgia, was discovered in the restricted area around the wreckage of the World Trade Centre on Friday night with a shotgun and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey by his side. He is believed to have died from a head wound.

Mr Veal left no note, but his colleagues from the University of Georgia, where he helped oversee political polling, said that he was a passionate opponent of the war on Iraq, and of George Bush.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:04 AM EST
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Wednesday, 10 November 2004
Scary incident off coast of Japan.

Looks like China and Japan want to play chicken while we're busy elsewhere. Either, the Chinese are really bad navigators or they're testing the Japanese Defense Forces abilities, for some reason.


Japan's navy went on alert on Wednesday after an unidentified submarine was spotted inside the country's waters.

Surveillance aircraft detected the submarine near the southern island of Okinawa, and it left soon afterwards.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the submarine was spotted by a reconnaissance plane near the Sakishima island chain off Okinawa
Japanese officials refused to speculate on the submarine's nationality.

But Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted defence officials as saying it was a Chinese nuclear-powered sub.

The Sakishima islands lie about 120km (75 miles) south of the disputed Senkaku islands, which are known as the Diaoyu in Chinese.

The two sides held inconclusive talks last month on gas exploration projects in the East China Sea.
China has also reportedly been angered by a Japanese defence ministry paper which speculated on reasons China might attack.

It cited disputes over natural resources and territory, as well as a wider conflict involving Taiwan.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:58 PM EST
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Neocons gone wild.
There will probably be a few prominent resignations from the last Bush administration.

(They got Colin Powell flying around the world being Mr. lame duck who world leaders listen to politely but ignore, while Condi or Newt is in his office right now measuring the room for their desk.)

But I doubt we'll seeing any architects of the invasion of Iraq leaving. (Vice President Dick Cheney and key members of his staff (including Lewis "Scooter" Libby, John Hannah, and David Wurmser); the National Security Council's Condoleezza Rice, Robert Joseph, and Elliott Abrams; the Defense Department's Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and William Luti; and the State Department's John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, and Paula DeSutter.)

Richard Perle and David Frum have already written their manifesto for the next century and according to Jim Lobe, Frank Gaffney has mapped out what we can expect in the next administration..

"An influential foreign-policy neoconservative with close and long-standing ties to top hawks in the George W. Bush administration has laid out what he calls ''a checklist of the work the world will demand of this president and his subordinates in a second term.''

The list, which begins with the destruction of Falluja in Iraq and ends with the development of ''appropriate strategies'' for dealing with threats posed by China, Russia and ''the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America,'' calls for ''regime change'' in Iran and North Korea.

The list's author, Frank Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), also warns that the Bush administration should resist any pressure arising from the anticipated demise of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to resume peace talks that could result in Israel's giving up ''defensible boundaries.''

As (Richard) Perle's long-time proteg? and associate, Gaffney sits at the center of a network of interlocking think tanks, foundations, lobby groups, arms manufacturers and individuals that constitute the coalition of neoconservatives, aggressive nationalists like Cheney and Rumsfeld, and Christian Right activists responsible for the unilateralist trajectory of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11."

Mr. Gaffney says in part:

"Inevitably, some of President Bush's critics (possibly on the right, and certainly on the left, once they recover from the electoral-shock trauma) will interpret this finding insidiously:

They will assert that the president's conduct of the war on terror and, in particular, his efforts to consolidate the liberation of Iraq do not enjoy the popular mandate accorded to his social conservative agenda.

We will be told, at the very least, that W. won despite his handling of the war, thanks to the help of the evangelical Christians and like-minded folks who turned out for other reasons.

The reality is that the same moral principles that underpinned the Bush appeal on "values" issues like gay marriage, stem-cell research, and the right to life were central to his vision of U.S. war aims and foreign policy.

Indeed, the president laid claim squarely to the ultimate moral value -- freedom -- as the cornerstone of his strategy for defeating our Islamofascist enemies and their state sponsors, for whom that concept is utterly anathema.

[Yes, "Islamofascistss" are all about gay marriage.]

It follows, then, that among those who deserve credit for shaping this stunning triumph of American virtues and values are the much-maligned "neoconservatives" and their friends, who have been responsible for helping Bush design and execute his wartime agenda.

[No, you're not crazy at all. Its been a stunning success! By the way, Frank, do you know where Ayad Allawi's family is?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:16 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 November 2004 12:24 PM EST
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70 % of freedom is on the march..
Optimistic reports from the U.S. military says they now have 70% of Falluja under control. Control of what is the question. Seems to be pretty much a big pile of rubble.


Briefing reporters in Washington by video teleconference from Iraq, (General) Metz said the 2,000-3,000 rebels in Falluja were putting up scattered resistance with "little coherence".

Rebel casualties were higher than expected and civilian losses were low, Metz said, without giving details. [Details, we don't need no stinkin' details. You'll eat your tripe and like it.]

While General Metz replays "all quiet on the western front" an actual participant of the grand battle says:

"There are lots of them. We took heavy fire," Gunnery Sergeant Ishmail Castillo told Reuters.

"They opened up on my tank. They don't look like they are going to cave in."

Castillo said his tank had killed six fighters and that two marines were wounded in fighting. "One of the marines was hit in the head by RPG shrapnel," he said.

"They hit us from one area and then another right afterwords. There is in-depth organization. There were small-arms attacks all night," he said.

From Al-Jazeera and the BBC local reporter Al-Badrani said...

US forces had taken some casualties. "Two US military tanks have been so far destroyed in Julan neighbourhood, where the most violent clashes are taking place," he said.

"Three US armoured vehicles have been also destroyed in other parts of the city. The clashes are very violent. Fighters have showed up from other neighbourhoods and streets the US forces are unfamiliar with.

"US forces entered central Falluja city at around 12:00 (Iraqi local time) but were fiercely attacked by the fighters," al-Badrani said.

"They withdrew from the area after half an hour, heading for their positions in the northern parts of the city," he added.

Residents told al-Badrani the crews of two US tanks deserted their vehicles in Julan, leaving them to be seized by fighters.

70% of what?

I think it is misleading to say the US controls 70% of the city because the fighters are constantly on the move.

They go from street to street, attacking the army in some places, letting them through elsewhere so that they can attack them later.

The fighters have told me they are prepared to resist the Americans until the death.
They say they are fighting not just for Falluja, but for all Iraq.

The rest of Iraq is naturally at peace due to the Falluja attacks.:

[It seems most of the insurgents just picked up and left...Why won't they just stay and be killed?]

Iraqi rebels seized the centre of the city of Ramadi and attacked police stations elsewhere as US-led troops continued their Falluja assault.

Armed insurgents in Ramadi moved in when US troops withdrew from the Sunni city, a former rebel stronghold.

On Tuesday, rebels also targeted several police stations in and around Baquba, about 60km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

A number of police officers were injured in the attacks and at least one attacker killed, reports say.

In the oil-rich Kurdish town of Kirkuk - about 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad - a suspected car bomb outside an Iraqi national guard based killed at least two people, officials said.

In a separate incident, a group of armed men attacked a police station in south-western Doura neighbourhood in Baghdad, police said.

?Mlitants abduct a first cousin of Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and two of his family members in Baghdad, reportedly threatening to kill them unless the Falluja siege is lifted

?The governor in Mosul imposes an indefinite curfew after militants kill four members of the Iraqi security forces and a foreign contractor

?Attacks at Balad, Baiji, Karbala and Tuz leave 12 members of the Iraqi security forces and one US soldier dead.

The Civilians:

Al-Badrani said many civilians had died in indiscriminate bombing of the city and people had resorted to burying their dead in gardens. Many houses have been destroyed.

Allawi, who on Tuesday imposed a night curfew on Baghdad for an indefinite period, got a personal taste of Sunni anger at a Ramadan Iftar meal the same day.

"You have to stop fighting for four or five hours," Adnan al-Dulaimi, a Sunni official in the Religious Affairs Ministry, urged Allawi before the evening meal, a pool reporter said.

"Give them time to rescue the injured. There are civilians getting killed in Falluja. You are responsible for their lives in front of God," Dulaimi declared.

Allawi said he had tried all options before using force. "We have nothing against the civilians of Falluja," he added.

Aid agencies have highlighted the plight of civilians in Falluja where up to 50,000 people remain out of a pre-war population of 300,000.

Paul Wood (Of the BBC} notes that despite efforts by US forces to select targets carefully, their use of heavy artillery and tanks is bound to lead to civilian casualties.

What is this all for? Operation Pyhrric victory...

According to the Asia Times:

Like the United States' original sin of the invasion of Iraq of last year, the current Fallujah operation is based on a mix of deliberate disinformation, illusions, wishful-thinking and inept psywar. What has been the outcome of this?

?The perception that Fallujah is the source of all the evils confronting the US in Iraq. This is similar to the perception created before the invasion last year that Iraq was the source of all the evils confronting the US in West Asia.

The occupation of Iraq did not lead to peace and the end of terrorism in West Asia. It only made them even more elusive. Similarly, the occupation of Fallujah, which should not pose a major military problem for the US, is unlikely to lead to peace and an end to anti-US resistance and terrorism in Iraq.

The occupation of Fallujah will lead to more Fallujahs, and not to peace.

The perception that there is a central command and control guiding all acts of violence and terrorism in Iraq and that its general headquarters is located in Fallujah. There is as yet no credible evidence of any such central command and control operating from Fallujah.

Most of the resistance and terrorist operations all over Iraq seem to be autonomous and not subject to centralized control...

There need be no doubt about the US ability to reoccupy Fallujah. But that will be neither a beginning nor the end. It will be only a continuation of the bleeding of Iraq and the bleeding of the US.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:42 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 November 2004 11:45 AM EST
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Tuesday, 9 November 2004
Medical services paralized in Falluja.
Al Jazeera reports:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was "deeply concerned about reports that the injured cannot receive adequate medical care."

"The ICRC urges the belligerents to ensure that all those in need of such care - whether friend or foe - be given access to medical facilities and that medical personnel and vehicles can function without hindrance at all times," a statement said.

Residents say scores of civilians have been killed or wounded in 24 hours of fighting since US-led forces pushed deep into the city on Monday evening.

Doctors said people brought in at least 15 dead civilians at the main clinic in Falluja on Monday.

By Tuesday, there were no clinics open, residents said, and no way to count casualties.

Overnight US bombardments hit a clinic inside the Sunni Muslim city, killing doctores, nurses and patients, residents said. US military authorities denied the reports

Sami al-Jumaili, a doctor at Falluja Hospital, said the city was running out of medical supplies.

"There is not a single surgeon in Falluja. We had one ambulance hit by US fire and a doctor wounded.

There are scores of injured civilians in their homes whom we can't move," he said by telephone from a house where he had gone to help the wounded.

From the BBC

The BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, a journalist in Falluja who reports for the BBC World Service in Arabic.

I cannot say how many people have been killed but after two days of bombing, this city looks like Kabul.

Large portions of it have been destroyed but it is so dangerous to leave the house that I have not been able to find out more about casualties.

A medical dispensary in the city centre was bombed earlier.

I don't know what has happened to the doctors and patients who were there.

It was last place you could get medical attention because the big hospital on the outskirts of Falluja was captured by the Americans on Monday.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:27 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 November 2004 9:28 PM EST
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Writing from Iraq.

From Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches: (News from Baghdad.)

When my friend Aziz stopped by this afternoon, I asked him how he and his family are doing..."If we are not talking about the situation, we are good," he said despondently, "I think we will have civil war, sooner or later."

He shook his head while talking about Falluja. It is estimated that between 30-100,000 civilians remain in the city, people who have been referred to in mainstream media as "refusing to leave."

"So many people in Falluja are poor and cannot leave.

Land and houses in Baghdad are both very expensive, and so many people in Falluja are too poor to leave,"

Aziz said with resignation, "The Americans are doing what they did last time-taking control of the main hospital and not letting the hospitals and clinics and ambulances function. They are killing civilians, just like before."

I shudder to think of what is happening there to the civilians.

The Hospitals again:

As per April policy, the US military raided Falluja General Hospital and cut it off from the city. As per April they've impeded the medical services, committing yet another war crime.

There are reports from one of the doctors at said hospital that one of their ambulances was shot while attempting to leave the hospital, just like in April when I was in Falluja; all of the ambulances were targeted then as well.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:26 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 November 2004 7:27 PM EST
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