Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Virginians Stand Watch For Impeachment, And Voices From The Underground
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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Virginians Stand Watch For Impeachment, And Voices From The Underground


PEACE AND IMPEACHMENT SHOW DOWNS COMING! PLEASE FORWARD TO FRIENDS, ACTIVISTS, AND LISTSERVS



Don’t miss “VOICES IN THE UNDERGROUND” later in this post!


Just One Source http://www.paxamericana.net/ Hey Underground you have got to drop in on this guy!

http://courtofimpeachmentandwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2007/01/court-of-impeachment-and-war-crimes.html

He should be the Soul, Conscience and Leader of the entire Resistance Movement. He speaks the truth with a power, perspective and eloquence that this nation needs.

Note: I Thank You For The Kind Words And Emails. Keep The Faith Friends And Do Not Bend To Any Pressure. Your Voices Are Heard! Ed.

Join the Youth & Student Movement

Youth contingent

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Student updates

When huge numbers of people from around the country descend on Washington on Saturday, September 15, there will be a unified youth and student contingent marching together to represent the power of our dissent against the system that is both failing us at home and funneling us into a war of aggression abroad.

Youth and students have historically played an important role in leading social movements throughout U.S. and world history, and the movement to end the war in Iraq is no different. Despite the lack of a formal draft, the war raging in Iraq is taking a heavy toll on youth and students here by draining funds from education and social programs, and by placing our future in a very tenuous position.

We call on all youth and students to join us in building a massive contingent. Organize your school, your community centers, tell your friends, and bring your signs and banners

Glenn Greenwald
Tuesday September 4, 2007 07:25 EST

Dick Cheney's top aide: "We're one bomb away" from our goal

In October of 2003, Jack Goldsmith -- a right-wing lawyer with radical views of executive power and long-time friend of John Yoo -- was named by the Bush administration to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, one of the most influential legal positions in the executive branch. During his tenure, he discovered numerous legal positions which the administration had adopted (many created by Yoo) that he found baseless and even unconscionable -- from torture to detention powers to illegal surveillance -- and he repudiated many of them, thereby repeatedly infuriating the most powerful White House officials, led by Cheney top aide David Addington. As a result, his tenure was extremely brief, and he was gone a mere 9 months after he began.

Goldsmith, now a Harvard Law Professor, has just written a book, to be released this month, criticizing and, in some cases, exposing for the first time, many of Bush's executive power abuses. He is donating all the proceeds from the book to charity to prevent the standard integrity attacks which Bush followers launch at any ex-officials who commit such blasphemy. In a lengthy profile in The New York Times Magazine, Jeffrey Rosen profiles Goldsmith and highlights some of the book's key revelations.

Two revelations in particular are extraordinary and deserve (but are unlikely to receive) intense media coverage. First, it was Goldsmith who first argued that the administration's secret, warrantless surveillance programs were illegal, and it was that conclusion which sparked the now famous refusal of Ashcroft/Comey in early 2004 to certify the program's legality. Goldsmith argued continuously about his conclusion with Addington, and during the course of those arguments, this is what happened:

[Goldsmith] shared the White House's concern that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act might prevent wiretaps on international calls involving terrorists. But Goldsmith deplored the way the White House tried to fix the problem, which was highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts. "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court," Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February 2004.

Their goal all along was to "get rid of the obnoxious FISA court" entirely, so that they could freely eavesdrop on whomever they wanted with no warrants or oversight of any kind. And here is Dick Cheney's top aide, drooling with anticipation at the prospect of another terrorist attack so that they could seize this power without challenge. Addington views the Next Terrorist Attack as the golden opportunity to seize yet more power. Sitting around the White House dreaming of all the great new powers they will have once the new terrorist attack occurs -- as Addington was doing -- is nothing short of deranged.

Contrary to the claims made by Bush and his followers ever since the NSA scandal arose, their real objective in secretly creating "The Terrorist Surveillance Program" was never to find a narrow means to circumvent FISA when, in those few cases, it impeded necessary eavesdropping. Rather, the goal was to get rid of FISA altogether and return the country to the days when our government could spy on us in total secrecy, with no oversight. Of course, until they could "get rid of" that law altogether -- through the only tactic they know: exploitation of Terrorism -- they simply decided to violate it at will.

More revealing still is Goldsmith's description of how the Bush administration systematically violated one law after the next -- employing tactics that are truly the hallmark of the most lawless third-world dictators:



In his book, Goldsmith claims that Addington and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: "They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations," he writes.

Goldsmith's first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or "strict compartmentalization," in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.'s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel's legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. "Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department's legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing," Goldsmith writes.

They literally decided they would break whatever laws they wanted -- one law after the next, in critical areas -- based on patently baseless memos issued by obedient followers like John Yoo. Not only did they do this in complete secrecy from Congress, they refused even to allow Executive Branch officials who were told to follow orders to see the legal basis for what they were told to do. Addington, whom Goldsmith described as "someone who spoke for and acted with the full backing of the powerful vice president," would simply demand compliance with what Cheney wanted. And anyone who objected was subjected to this (emphasis in original):

Months later, when Goldsmith tried to question another presidential decision, Addington expressed his views even more pointedly. "If you rule that way," Addington exclaimed in disgust, Goldsmith recalls, "the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands."

While our national media was glorifying the Great Commander-in-Chief and actively disseminating their most manipulative claims and mocking Democrats on the pettiest of grounds (The Serious National Security Grown-ups are in Charge; John Kerry windsurfs! John Edwards loves his hair!), the Bush administration was dismantling the rule of law, systematically violating long-standing statutes and treaties at will. We were ruled by a truly lawless government, while our media institutions and political elite sat by meek and respectful.

Perhaps most infuriating is the fact that, as it turns out, violating these laws in secret was not even necessary -- because Congress was, and still is, more than happy to legalize whatever they wanted to do. Almost immediately after the Supreme Court finally imposed some mild limitations on the President's detention and interrogation powers -- first in Hamdi, then in Hamdan -- Congress, as Goldsmith says, "promptly passed a law that gave him everything he asked for, authorizing many aspects of the military commissions that the Supreme Court had struck down."

And the terrorist bomb about which David Addington was fantasizing in order to get rid of FISA was equally unnecessary, since the Democratic Congress, in the face of the types of threats Goldsmith recounts Addington routinely made -- "the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands" -- just eviscerated the crux of FISA's protections by law. Hence, what began as the administration's illegal and secret abuses have become the legally sanctioned policies of the United States.

It is critical to emphasize that Goldsmith -- like James Comey and John Ashcroft -- is no hero. He is a hard-core right-wing ideologue who continues to support many of the administration's most radical positions, including his view that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions does not apply to terrorist suspects (the position rejected by Hamdan). And it was Goldsmith who ultimately approved of the modified (and plainly illegal) NSA warrantless eavesdropping program.

Moreover, Goldsmith explains that he had not even intended to address the NSA surveillance program in his book, but changed his mind once he was served with subpoenas by the FBI in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation to find out who the whistleblower was who alerted the country to this illegality -- an investigation which Goldsmith supports. As Goldsmith says: "I'm not a civil libertarian, and what I did wasn't driven by concerns about civil liberties per se."

Goldsmith is commendable only by comparison to the truly extremist and reprehensible likes of Cheney, Addington, Gonzales and Yoo. He is, by and large, a True Believer in the Bush "War on Terror" and in theories designed to expand substantially executive power. That is what makes his revelations all the more credible, and all the more disturbing. What he is describing is a band of deranged and lawless radicals who, during his tenure, ran our government and who, after they forced him out, continue to do so.

But with little meaningful opposition to any of this -- either in the media or in the Congress -- little attention will be paid to these extraordinary revelations, and our government will continue to be shaped in the image of Dick Cheney and David Addington. Now that they have obtained most of their original wish list from a compliant Congress, just imagine what they are dreaming of, the still new unchecked powers which they believe are only "one bomb away."

-- Glenn Greenwald


COUNTDOWN TO A SHOWDOWN
More than 100 cities mobilizing for Sept. 15 March on Washingtonand An Important Appeal from an Iraq War Veteran

We are in a countdown to a showdown and Bush is scrambling to beat back the anti-war opposition that is dominating the country.

He and the neocons are betting that their propaganda blitz preceding the September 15 showdown will force the Democrats to capitulate once again.

William Kristol and other neocon fascist cheerleaders for Bush are so scared of the anti-war movement that they have launched a campaign attacking Iraq war veterans for planning a mass Die-In on September 15. Kristol, like other coddled rich boys in the Bush administration, never served a day in his life. He dares to incite attacks against Iraq war veterans who are courageous enough to tell the truth and who are coming out to lead the September 15 March on Washington.

Bush's disgusting photo-op trip to Iraq is just one more optical illusion. The "surprise" visit yesterday to the heavily-guarded Al Asad air base, with 10,000 U.S. troops, is the latest in the new propaganda blitz to convince Congress and the country to fork over $3 billion each week to fund Bush's fantasy that Iraq can be occupied and subdued. Bush must also convince the people of the United States that they should keep sending their sons and daughters to their deaths.

Bush arrived at Anbar province in secrecy just days after a plane carrying a U.S. congressional delegation was nearly blown from the skies by resistance fire after it took off. He arrived after another month that took the lives of nearly 2,000 Iraqis, landing on the same day that the British left the city of Basra implicitly acknowledging their defeat in southern Iraq.
All the photo-ops in the world cannot conceal the truth. Join with the tens of thousands of people who will stand with the Iraq War Veterans and March on Washington on September 15.

This is a critical demonstration for all those who oppose the war and people can participate in different ways. There will be a fully permitted march and rally (for those who will not be risking arrest) in addition to the Die-In led by Iraq War Veterans. Click this link for transportation information.

STUDENTS WILL MARCH WITH IRAQ WAR VETERANS ON SEPTEMBER 15

When huge numbers of people from around the country descend on Washington on Saturday, September 15 for the Mass March and Die-In led by Iraq war veterans, there will be a unified youth and student contingent marching to represent the rising tide of dissent among this country's youth. We will march shoulder to shoulder with Iraq war veterans, along with the Arab-American and Muslim community, to demand "End the War Now," "Money for Jobs and Education, Not for War and Occupation!"

Youth and students have historically played an important role in leading social movements throughout U.S. and world history, and the movement to end the war in Iraq is no different. Despite the lack of a formal draft, the Pentagon is imposing a form of conscription with its infamous stop-loss and inactive reserve (ready reserve) policies. Iraq war veterans have been sent back to Iraq for two and three additional tours of duty, while extending the length of the tours. The war, which now costs $3 billion per week, is taking a heavy toll on youth and students here by draining funds from education and social programs.

Student activists and groups from across the country have already contacted us to let us know that they are coming to DC on the 15th. Among the many student groups mobilizing for the 15th are: Youth & Student ANSWER; Muslim American Society Youth-National; Hip Hop Caucus; Campus Antiwar Network; antiwar committees from the mid-Atlantic region at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Howard University, and the University of District of Columbia; in the Northeast from Bronx Community College, Queens College, John Jay College, and Northeastern University; and from the South at Florida International University and University of Central Florida, just to name a few.

March with youth, students, and Iraq war veterans on September 15th!

Students at George Washington University have offered housing -- on a limited basis -- to out-of-state students who need it. Click this link to fill out the housing form.

100 transportation centers - Get on the bus

Please make a donation to help Iraq War Veterans get to DC, click this link.

A PLEA FROM ADAM KOKESH "PROTESTING IS NOT ENOUGH!"JOIN VFP IN WASHINGTON SEPTEMBER 15!

Saturday, September 8 & Sunday, September 9and daily through September 15!

For the past two months, hundreds of volunteers across the DC area have helped to put up flyers, hand out posters, make phone calls, send emails and more to spread the word about the September 15 March to Stop the War. You can make a difference in the final week before the demonstration!

There are many ways you can get involved in the last week before the demonstration:
· Weekend worksessions & outreach: Saturday, September 8 & Sunday, September 9
·
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· Leafleting at metros, schools, grocery stores & more
· Daily worksessions & outreach: Monday, September 10 through Friday, September 14

Volunteers orientation meeting: Wednesday, September 12

Volunteer on Saturday, September 15 (we need help from 6 am to 10 pm!)

Flyers, posters and stickers available
·
Leafleting at metros, schools, grocery stores & more

Metro stations during morning and evening rush hour, high schools and colleges, and grocery stores are great places to hand out leaflets for September 15. Call x14 for details and to sign up. Flyers can be picked up from the A.N.S.W.E.R. office at 1247 E St. SE, you can call to request someone to meet you to help hand out flyers with you, or you can print flyers from the website.
Weekend worksessions & outreach:Saturday, September 8 & Sunday, September 9

There will be worksessions to make signs and banners (no artistic skills needed), carry out other preparations for the demonstration, and to team up with others for outreach. You can come to the A.N.S.W.E.R. office anytime from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (possibly later - call first to check) to help out.

Daily worksessions & outreach:Monday, September 10 through Friday, September 14

Worksessions and outreach will continue in the day and evening during the week before September 15. Call x14 for details.

Volunteers Orientation Meeting:Wednesday, September 12

There will be a Volunteers Orientation Meeting about September 15 on Wednesday, September 12 at 7:00 pm at the A.N.S.W.E.R. office at 1247 E St. SE. If you want to volunteer on September 15, we strongly recommend you attend this meeting.

Volunteer on Saturday, September 15(we need help from 6 am to 10 pm!)

Volunteers are needed from the early morning until late at night to help with all of the preparations for the demonstration. We'll send out a detailed sign up sheet soon!

Flyers, posters and stickers available

You can also pick up outreach materials at the office on any day. We have tens of thousands of beautiful, two-color flyers, posters and stickers for people to use in your neighborhoods, workplaces, places of worship, local restaurants and businesses, and wherever you can.

A.N.S.W.E.R. office

The A.N.S.W.E.R. office is located at 1247 E St. SE, at the corner of 13th and E Sts. SE (entrance on 13th St.). Take the blue/orange line metro to Potomac Ave.
Driving Directions Public Transportation

For more info call x14 or email http://us.f368.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=dc@internationalanswer.org.

More information

Spend the afternoon, evening or even a few hours donating your time to the anti-war and social justice cause. Volunteer this week! Click on the links below to get involved:

Logistical information (directions, maps, etc.)
Print September 15 flyers, posters & stickers
Donate
Join the Youth & Student Movement

Dear Veterans For Peace,

As many of you are aware, the next big mobilization of anti-war protestors is going to be in Washington, DC on September 15th. However, you may not be aware of the significance of this particular demonstration. Tina Richards of Grassroots America and I have been working extensively with the ANSWER Coalition to make sure that this is not just another protest. We have made the theme, "Protesting is not enough. Come for the rally, stay for a week of direct action."

To kick off the week of action, after the rally we will march from the White House to the Capitol, and go straight into a mass civil-disobedience die-in around the Peace Monument. The die-in will be led by an Honor Guard of Iraq Veterans Against the War who will simulate a 21-Gun Salute before taps is played to initiate the die-in. We are asking as many members of VFP as possible to sign up to wear cammies and die-in around us to symbolize the American cost of this war. We will be encircled by bolts of red cloth to symbolize the Iraqi deaths and invite anyone else from the rally to participate in the die-in.

Sunday will be a day of teach-ins including a Truth In Recruiting Workshop led by IVAW. That evening, IVAW DC will be holding a benefit concert. Monday is National Truth In Recruiting Day, and there will be numerous activities planned and we will need your help with an action at the main recruiting office in DC. Tuesday is Congressional Challenge Day led by Tina Richards. Wednesday or Thursday will be Veterans Lobbying Day, and Friday is the Moratorium. Also, the 14th, the Friday before the rally, is the IVAW CD Release Party. All of these events are on the calendar at Sept15.org.

ANSWER has offered to provide free transportation to all IVAW members on the ANSWER busses, and has agreed to extend this offer to all members of VFP in need. On the ANSWER website is a contact list for busses and if there is one that you can get to, please email Betsy Reznicek at the VFP National Office at http://us.f368.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=breznicek@veteransforpeace.net to get on the list.

As a member of IVAW, it's an honor to have the support of VFP when we attempt something as momentous and significant as this. Personally, I am hoping that September 15th can be a turning point for the entire movement away from protesting and towards direct action. It's important that veterans are properly represented and leading the charge at this crucial time.
Thank you,

Adam KokeshProud member of VFPCo-Chair Elect of IVAWhttp://us.f368.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=adam@ivaw.org

100 transportation centers, click here
To see the entire schedule of actions, click here

For more information on Iraq Veterans Against the War, click this link
For more information on Veterans for Peace, click this link
Cindy Sheehan responds to William Kristol's campaign against the Sept. 15

March on Washington, where he calls to"Kill the Die-In"

Another Dishonorable Chicken-hawk
by Cindy Sheehan

I know just a little bit about Mr. William Kristol:

He is the son of one of the founders of the "neo-conservative" movement, Irving Kristol.

He is a commentator on Fox News.

He was Chief of Staff for one of the political "geniuses" of our time: VP Dan Quayle.

He is editor of another Rupert Murdoch war-propaganda rag, "The Weekly Standard."

He is a member, and signer, of the Project for the New American Century, which is a game plan for US global hegemony based on military strength and one of its goals and objectives was the over-throw of the Hussein Regime in Iraq with a next stop in Iran and Syria (because the PNAC plan is going so well, so far).

By all accounts, Mr. Kristol is a brilliant man, who like his father before him, uses his brilliance for destruction. He is a shameless supporter of a failed, murderous, and miserable strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan and one of the "mushroom cloud" crowd.

One thing Mr. William Kristol is not, is a combat vet.

Although he was born in 1952, he never served during Vietnam. I am sure while at Harvard he was a staunch supporter of the American effort to enrich the war profiteers while ostensibly stopping that war's "enemy" communism from spreading across Asia. Secure in his studies during that quagmire, Kristol joins a long line of neo-con chicken-hawks who are drenched in other people's blood and love to send other people's children to die for their lies.

I don't know anything, or care to know anything about Mr. Kristol's private life. I don't care if he is another closeted gay Republican or is a happily married hetero with children. I do suspect, however, that if Mr. Kristol is married, his children are not serving in Iraq, being misused by the very same incompetent and cowardly Commander in Chief (who also did not serve in Vietnam) that Mr. Kristol shamelessly supports while the entire administration and Republican hypocrites are crumbling from corruption and scandal.

I do know one thing for sure about Mr. Kristol, he does not like to be bothered with those pesky little things called facts. On February 20, 2003, Mr. Kristol incredibly gushed: "If we free the people of Iraq, we will be respected in the Arab world."

This statement shows an amazing lack of knowledge of the Arab world or any kind of foreign policy sophistication (but does show a great use of Rovian-Foxian expolitation of emotion). No one in the Arab world (except maybe, Israel, which is geographically located in the "Arab world") was calling for the US to "free" Iraqis.

No one from Iraq except "Curveball" or the slimy and profit-motivated, Ahmad Chalabi, both Iraqis who weren't even living in the country at the time of the invasion were calling on the USA to liberate them. In fact, after many years of murderous sanctions against Iraq, a fierce nationalism arose in opposition to the US-UN led sanctions. According to National Intelligence Estimates, since the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, Islamic Jihadism has increased.

Mr. Kristol is also incredibly ignorant of human nature and human history. No peoples like to be occupied. No child, brother or sister, or mother or father, who sees a loved one blown away by American or insurgent's bombs will love the oppressor. In fact, violence only creates more violence and more life-long enemies.

Now Mr. Kristol is safe behind his desk and computer calling for another attack against Iran.

I think he hears the non-existent cries of the Iranian people to be liberated from their regime. The Iranian people are directly next-door to Iraq and they see what US "liberation" brings. It comes with the awful price of high civilian casualties; hospitals bombed, Doctors killed; no electricity or clean water; and eternal occupation.

In a recent op-ed for The Weekly Standard, Mr. Kristol makes many more tactical and fundamental errors. The ANSWER coalition is calling for mass mobilizations begining the week (Sept. 15) that the White House authored Petraeus report on the surge is due. Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), who are leading the September 15th march, are calling for a "die-in" to end the march and begin the rally.

The vets, unlike the chicken-hawk neocons, have actually served in war, particularly the one that Mr. Kristol imagines is such a success. IVAW is asking activists to represent a killed service-member and at an appropriate time lie down. Taps will be played and also a simulated 21-gun salute. It sounds respectful to me, being the mom of one of the soldiers, and I will proudly, yet sorrowfully, be lying down for my son that day. Many of the march/rally participants will be "dying" to represent the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed for Mr. Kristol's deceptions.

Mr. Kristol calls on the "honorable" members of the anti-war movement to denounce the die-in and lumps MoveOn.org with other organizers of the die-in. MoveOn is not associated with the die-in as they do not support non-violent, direct civil disobedience. What I find so amusing is that Mr. PNAC-Fox News-Chicken-hawk has made himself the judge of what is honorable.

Mr. Kristol has a problem with the anti-war movement using the names of the fallen without the permission of the families. No one got my permission when my sons portrait was used in the pro-war memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Casey's name and likeness has been used by pro-war people all over the nation without my permission. Why is that okay, Mr. Kristol?

I know for a fact such memorials as Arlington West, Eyes Wide Open and our memorial at Camp Casey would remove names of soldiers at the next of kin's request. If any family member so requests, I am sure IVAW will do the same thing---but a word of caution:

Even though the members of IVAW (all my adopted sons and daughters) have a big problem with the occupation of Iraq and with the Bush crime family, they served their country honorably (unlike Mr. Kristol) and they all fought side-by-side with the fallen. They love their brothers and sisters and they would themselves have died to take the place of any one of them. Do not, never, ever, claim that we families, or the Iraq Vets are dishonoring our sons and daughters killed by the lies of The Weekly Standard, Fox News, BushCo., et al. That is the biggest lie of all, or maybe it's this one that Mr. Kristol told on March 1, 2003:

"Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president."

I would laugh if I weren't crying so hard.

If Mr. Kristol gets his PNAC way, by this time next year, we will need a lot more people at a die-in.

http://www.cindyforcongress.org%20%20%20%20%20/

100 transportation centers - Get on the bus!
Click this link for more information.

Please make a generous donation to provide a transportation subsidy to help Iraq war veterans get to DC

To organize transportation, click this link.



To become a volunteer, click this link



.To endorse the march, click this link



To download Sept. 15 literature, click this link.



To order Sept. 15 literature, click this link.

Be sure to check out http://www.pephost.org/site/R?i=NQXj9470_OEM2Al-wJmW2Q..!

Howard said he had no plans to reduce his country's 1,500-strong troop presence in Iraq.

By Tom A. Peter
from the September 6, 2007 edition

Facing increasing criticism for the Iraq war at home and abroad, US President George W. Bush found an exception in the company of Australia's Prime Minister John Howard. The Australian leader announced Wednesday that he would not reduce his country's troop levels in Iraq. Australia has about 1,500 troops in Iraq, with about one-third of those in combat roles. Still, both countries may see changes in their roles after the US commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, gives his Iraq progress report to Congress next week.

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Howard pledged to President Bush that his government had no plans to scale back Australia's military forces in Iraq within the near future. The Australian prime minister also said that he and Bush have been closely aligned in the war on terror since their first meeting on Sept. 10, 2001, a day before the terrorist attacks rocked New York City and Washington, D.C., reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

"As a consequence of that meeting and the horrific events that horrifically followed the [next] day, the paths of our two countries have been parallel in so many ways in the fight against terrorism and the promotion of democracy and freedom around the world," Mr Howard said.

"In our discussions I made it very clear to the President that our commitment to Iraq remains," he said. "Australian forces will remain at their present levels in Iraq, not based on any calendar but based on conditions on the ground. Until we are satisfied that a further contribution to ensuring that the Iraqis can look after themselves cannot usefully be made by the Australian forces, they will not be reduced or withdrawn."

Howard's ringing endorsement of Bush and the Iraq mission is a rarity among foreign leaders, even those who have openly supported the war, reports The New York Times. Most are content simply to accept the US president's public gratitude without further praising the cause.

Declaring that "our commitment to Iraq remains," Mr. Howard used language almost identical to that of Mr. Bush when he said troop withdrawals would be "not based on any calendar, but based on conditions on the ground."

But just as Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, paid a political price for supporting the war, so too has Mr. Howard, and his appearance with Mr. Bush will likely do him little political good as he fights a tough re-election challenge from Kevin Rudd, the Labor Party candidate and a staunch opponent of the war.

On his official blog for The Australian, reporter Dennis Shanahan argues that General Petraeus's forthcoming report is of importance to Australians, too. In fact, Petraeus has already praised the Australians, saying they "get it" and that "they understand this extremely complex type of operation." Even Australian opponents of the war, namely the Labor Party, say they are concerned with building a functional democratic society in Iraq.

As Labor's foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland argued yesterday, "the Australian public is concerned about the ability to help build a democratic Iraq".

"More and more Australians know the Iraq war is a national security disaster and that we absolutely must change course. Less than one-fifth of those asked believe Australian forces are in Iraq to support the democratic Government," McClelland says.

Constructive engagement with local communities, training people with basic skills, building rapport with locals and muscular responses to military threats are what Australian defense forces do best, and it is what they are doing best in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan.

Australia's Courier Mail reports that Bush will meet with opponents of the war during his time in Sydney to discuss the role of the nation's some 1,500 troops stationed in the Middle East.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, who is to meet with Mr Bush in Sydney tomorrow, said yesterday a future Labor government would conduct a staged withdrawal of Australian combat forces from Iraq.

Mr Rudd is expected to carry an olive branch into the meeting with an offer to swap combat troops in Iraq for more military trainers. "What I've said consistently since becoming leader is that we'll embrace the policy of a negotiated, staged withdrawal of our combat forces," he told ABC radio yesterday.

While the Australians may shift to more of a training role, both Bush and Petraeus have implied that they may consider reducing US troop levels in Iraq if the security situation continues to show signs of promise, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"If conditions still improve . . . the way they have been improving, we may be able to provide the same security with fewer troops," Bush said during the news conference in Sydney.

But he said he would wait until U.S. commander Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker delivered their report to Congress next week before making a decision.

Despite the support from Australia's leader, many Australians have provided Bush with constant reminders that large segments of the population are opposed to the Iraq war effort, reports the New Zealand Press Association. In addition to several protests since the US president's arrival, a large protest is planned for Saturday.

Last night around 200 people attended a rally against the war and the presence of Australian troops in Iraq, but it was a peaceful affair in drizzly, cool conditions.

Security officials and protest organisers have been engaged in a war of words over the past week with neither backing down from the prospect of violent confrontation.

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Olbermann Tags Bush 'Liar,' Calls for Impeachment AgainNewsBusters - USAOlbermann: "Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end, even if it means your resignation, even if it means your impeachment, even if it means a different ...See all stories on this topic

Does Santa Ana want impeachment?By mwisckol A group called the Santa Ana Impeachment Campaign will ask the City Council to join 81 other cities in calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, according to the press release (Click below to see it). ...Total Buzz - http://totalbuzz.freedomblogging.com

Recall as alternative to impeachment?By A E Blackwell Although there are Constitutional measures for impeachment and, upon conviction, removal of federal officials from office, such provisions require Congress to do its Constitutional duty. If Congress shirks due diligence when bribery, ...All Network Posts - http://www.progressnowaction.org/page/community/members

Nuns call for impeachment of Bush/CheneyI think we've reached a tipping point, Ladies and Gentlemen: "The National Coalition of American Nuns is impelled by conscience to call you to act promptly to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for ... high Crooks and Liars - http://www.crooksandliars.com

Nuns call for Impeachment of Bush/CheneyBy Dan Chmielewski The letter says that impeachment is warranted for their "deceiving the public under the false pretense that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction" and "destroying" the reputation of the United States and the good will of other ...The Liberal OC - http://www.theliberaloc.com

An Alternative to ImpeachmentBy Andrew Bard Schmookler Regrettably, it does not seem that Congress will be impeaching Bush and Cheney, even though those two probably warrant impeachment more than any holders of high office in American history. Fortunately, there may be an alternative to ...NONE SO BLIND - BLOG - http://www.nonesoblind.org/blog

Tim Gruber: Council should take stand in favor of impeachmentThe Capital Times - Madison,WI,USAImpeachment is such an important issue that it should be discussed around every water cooler, in every board room and break room, in every living room and ...See all stories on this topic

America is Lost--and We Lost ItAmerican Chronicle - Beverly Hills,CA,USAresponsibility, the very mandate which not only empowers but requires it to protect the Constitution by using its power of impeachment to rescue the country ...See all stories on this topic

World War IIIOpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USACongressman John Conyers, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on this occasion that he would take up the
impeachment\impeachment of Bush and Cheney ...See all stories on this topic

Impeachment WatchBy Kendall(Kendall) Full of links a rational analysis this guide lays out how to get there from here and why.Into the Breach - http://kendallmiller.blogspot.com/

Nuns Call for Impeachment of Bush and CheneyBy rgeorges Link: Winston-Salem Journal Religion Briefs Coalition of nuns calls for impeaching Bush and Cheney. As a former Catholic school kid from the Sixties, this story struck fear into my heart, and the President and Vice-President should ...Recent Posts - Justia BlawgSearch.com - http://blawgsearch.justia.com/

IMPEACHMENT MONDAY: Inquiry First, Ask Questions LaterBy hotpotato Detractors of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee into whether President George W. Bush has committed impeachable offenses contend that no questions should be asked until conclusive incriminating evidence is either ...Hot Potato Mash - http://www.hotpotatomash.com/

Congress must start impeachment inquiry: Ex-Reagan aideA constitutional lawyer who served in Ronald Reagan's administration says President Bush's "apparently criminal" authorization of a warrantless wiretapping program is grounds for the House to begin an impeachment inquiry. ...RawStory.com Headlines - http://rawstory.com/

World War IIIBy davidswanson Congressman John Conyers, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on this occasion that he would take up the impeachment of Bush and Cheney if they attacked Iran. Congressman Dennis Kucinich at the time was saying the ...Democrats.com - The Aggressive... - http://www.democrats.com

Should impeachment have been on council's agendaMaineToday.com - Portland,ME,USAMs. Jill Duson's resolution for impeachment came up for discussion and was defeated. If you believe as I do that our republic, our Constitution and its ...See all stories on this topic

Milfred: PD distraction isn't worth a voteWisconsin State Journal - Madison,WI,USACourtesy of the hard-left political party Progressive Dane, the Madison City Council will debate whether to urge Congress to begin impeachment ...See all stories on this topic

Put into play the genius of impeachmentFairbanks Daily News-Miner - Fairbanks,AK,USAMoyers interviewed two guests who pointed clearly at the solution that has been there all along: impeachment. One of Moyers' guests, John Nichols, ...See all stories on this topic

A Conservative Argument For Impeachment: Fein On FireBy kidneystones Detractors of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee into whether President George W. Bush has committed impeachable offenses contend that no questions should be asked until conclusive incriminating evidence is either ...Daily Kos - http://www.dailykos.com/section/Diary

Editorial: ImpeachBy Third Estate Sunday Review(Third Estate Sunday Review) "The National Coalition of American Nuns is impelled by conscience to call you to act promptly to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for ... high crimes and misdemeanors," the group wrote in a letter written ...Third Estate Sunday Review - http://thirdestatesundayreview.blogspot.com/

Advocate of impeachment takes campaign to the streetsstatement--a weekly call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney--goes further back than wiretaps, Hurricane Katrina, or even the War in Iraq. No, Feuer's weekly call on the corner of State and Main in Great...AfterDowningStreet.org - Impeach... - http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

The New York City Impeach Bush Meetup GroupBy George Bush's Impeachment(George Bush's Impeachment) Welcome to George Bush's Impeachment Blog! Its been a while since I've joined The New York City Impeach Bush Meetup Group. The New York City Impeach Bush Meetup Group I set up my meetup member profile a few months ago. ...George Bush's Impeachment - http://bushimpeach.blogspot.com/

US Prepares Massive Air Attack on IranBy Allen Carstensen(Allen Carstensen) This phase may well be the beginning of WWIII. Congress has been useless in stopping him. Impeachment is the only hope. Since Congress seems unwilling to put impeachment on the table, we have to push for it at the grassroots level. ...Trumansburg Impeachment - http://trumansburgimpeachment.blogspot.com/

Protesters want Hinchey to back Cheney impeachmentWSTM-TV - Syracuse,NY,USAHinchey once called for impeachment, the first step toward removal of President Bush, accusing the administration of lying about the reasons for the Iraq ...See all stories on this topic

AP Interview: Pryor says impeachment hurts Hutchinson's AG shotPine Bluff Commercial - Pine Bluff,AR,USAPryor did not say whether he personally views Hutchinson's role in impeachment as partisan, but said he believed it would be an obstacle with some lawmakers ...See all stories on this topic

Pomeroy insulted many constituentsBismarck Tribune - ND, USAEarl Pomeroy's hostile reaction to the military mom who cornered him on his failure to support presidential impeachment at this critical time in the life of ...See all stories on this topic

Texans haven't impeached a governor since 1917LubbockOnline.com - Lubbock,TX,USAGray Davis in 2003, Texans' only way to toss Perry out before the 2010 election would be impeachment. Curtis' top two (of 10) reasons for wanting to oust ...See all stories on this topic

Alhaji Sani Lulu AbdullahiDaily Sun - Apapa,Lagos,NigeriaFacts have continued to emerge as to why the chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, escaped impeachment at the ...See all stories on this topic

IMPEACHMENT OR ENSLAVEMENT? IT'S NOW OR NEVEROpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USAThere is only one remedy for the ills which have befallen our nation- impeachment of Bush and Cheney. At one stroke, this would restore the Constitution, ...See all stories on this topic

Conyers Now Says Impeachment is NOT Off His TableZNet - Woods Hole,MA,USAConyers said he has no reticence or reluctance to "use the tool of impeachment," when he "feels it is appropriate." I spoke to the gathering prior to ...See all stories on this topic

A Compelling Case For ImpeachmentA Compelling Case for Impeachment: A Return to Moral Leadership, the Rule of Law, and Constitutional Government," written and presented by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.Digg / upcoming - http://digg.com/

The myth of insufficient evidenceBy Lisa(Impeachment Project) Bruce Fein, as we recall, is the conservative legal scholar who wrote the first article of impeachment against Bill Clinton; and who has been one of the most articulate and passionate advocates of impeachment for both Bush and Cheney. ...Impeachment Project - http://impeachmentproject.blogspot.com/

Judge halts illegal immigrant notices, Impeachment proceding ...By ModernDay Publius US District Judge Maxine Chesney issued a restraining order in the lawsuit to stop the Federal Government from enforcing Immigration laws. At issue are "no-match" letters that . . .Gather: Articles by ModernDay Publius - http://moderndaypublius.gather.com

Conyers: Impeachment Back on TableBy David Segal Let's still hold out hope that Conyers -- in a position of great power and in the face of a Democratic leadership seemingly intent on inaction relative to the war -- will force the impeachment issue soon, and do what he can to push back ...Rhode Island's Future - Front Page - http://www.rifuture.org

Congress has enough evidence for an impeachment inquiry.Detractors of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee into whether President George W. Bush has committed impeachable offenses contend that no questions should be asked until conclusive incriminating evidence is either ...BEE: Headline News - http://www.personalbee.com/101

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_dave_lin_070904_beware_the_wounded_b.htm

September 4, 2007 at 14:23:05

Beware the Wounded Beast: America Has Lost the Iraq War

by Dave Lindorff Page 1 of 2 page(s)

http://www.opednews.com/
By Dave Lindorff
The Iraq War has been lost.

The British are acknowledging this fact by pulling out their troops from Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, handing over the city to the control of Shia militias. For all intents and purposes, the “Coalition of the Willing” is now dead. America is now going it alone.



Bush is not acknowledging defeat, but has indirectly admitted it by saying that some troops can start being brought home soon, even though clearly nothing has been accomplished with the addition of 30,000 troops for the last six months.



He acknowledged defeat too, by flying into Iraq stealthily in the dead of night this week, landing at a remote desert outpost in western Iraq, instead of going to Baghdad, and meeting with American military officials, instead of with the Iraqi government. (So much for Iraq’s being a “sovereign nation”!



Can you imaging a head of state of some foreign government, together with his war secretary and his secretary of state, flying in unannounced to some remote American state, and not even meeting with American government officials?)



Clearly the US military could not guarantee the president’s safety in Baghdad and the Green Zone, so he had to go to a remote outpost where he was safe behind razor wire, mines and an obscene arsenal of soldiers, tanks and gunships.



With the British giving up on their quadrant of Iraq—a strategically crucial location at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, where the bulk of supplies for the US military in Iraq are offloaded, and from which the vast majority of Iraq’s dismal oil experts are exported—American troops are stranded, and dependent upon air drops for their secure delivery of supplies.



Reports say that the real reason Bush is talking about troops coming home is because the military in Iraq is broken, and can no longer sustain a commitment of 160,000 soldiers and marines in the country.



There is no choice; they have to start coming home.



As in Vietnam, where open mutiny and sullen disobedience became the norm after 1968, in Iraq, the military is finally cracking. Seven enlisted soldiers even dared to write an open and scathing critique of the war in an opinion piece in the New York Times, saying that the US was widely viewed as an occupation force in Iraq, and that Iraqis wanted us out—the sooner the better.



The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War is growing rapidly in membership. The military has resorted to offering potential enlistees a whopping $20,000 bonus to go to boot camp immediately, because recruitment and reenlistment numbers for this year are so dismally low. Junior officer resignations are at a record high.



As military family members are pointing out, the American military is no longer a volunteer force. In name it may appear to be, but once stop-loss orders start routinely preventing troops from quitting the service, it is no longer volunteer, whatever it may be called. People are being coerced into fighting.



And once you have a coerced army loyalty goes out the window.



While there is nothing to be done about the disaster in Iraq, which will go down in military history as one of the great defeats of all time—the most powerful military the world has ever known beaten by a disorganized assortment of ill-trained and ill-equipped guerrilla fighters—this is nonetheless a dangerous moment.



Wounded animals are dangerous animals, and President Bush and his gang of Neocon wackoes, badly wounded by defeat in Iraq, are not anxious to slither off the political stage as losers. Hence the plans in the works to go double or nothing with an all-out aerial assault on Iran.



Numerous reports, including most credibly one in The Times in London (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.), suggest that a plan has already been laid out for a three-day massive bombardment on over 1200 targets in Iran, which would attempt to destroy not just that country’s nascent nuclear processing capability, but also its government, communications, and military facilities, essentially leaving the country of 70 million a smoking ruin.



Such an attack, with no international support, no UN sanction, no threat, imminent or otherwise, and no provocation, would be, pure and simple, a war crime of the first order. It would also put the US at war, not just with Iran, but also with virtually the entire Islamic world.



The Neocon fantasy is that after such a blitzkrieg, Iranians would rise up and overthrow their leaders—those leaders who survived—but history has shown that in such times of national disaster, people don’t turn on their leaders, but rather rally to them, however unpopular they may have been.



This is likely to be all the more true in the case of Iran, a country with a history going back as long as China’s with a strong sense of national identity, and a long recent history of feeling put upon by the U.S. (America, after all, overthrew Iran’s first democratic government in the 1950 in a CIA-inspired coup which set up the regime of the hated Shah Reza Palevi).



An Iran at war would be free to set its agents loose to attack American targets around the world, and inside the U.S., and under the doctrine of reciprocity, would be justified in attacking anything in America that came under attack in Iran. If we attacked Iranian nuclear facilities, they could attack American nuclear facilities, with all the concomitant resulting spread of radioactive materials.



If we attacked power plants or oil refineries, they would be free to do the same. If we attacked radio and television stations, so could they. To be sure, Iran would have to use guerrilla tactics in its attacks, where America would be using B-1 and B-2 bombers and ship-launched cruise missiles, but as has been observed, a terrorist or guerrilla is just a bomber without a fancy plane.

As I’ve noted before, war with Iran would mean oil prices zooming to levels never before seen—perhaps as high as $200/barrel or 150% above the all time record of $80/barrel set a year ago. Such prices would bring America’s and the world’s economies to a screeching halt. Islamic governments allied with the US, most notably the one in Pakistan, already shaky, could fall to radical backers of Iran (and Pakistan has the Bomb).



The shocking thing is that even though all the signs of a Bush attack on Iran are there, including the build-up of an unprecedented Naval armada, armed to the teeth, in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, nobody in Congress or the American media is talking about this looming crime and imminent disaster. Most Americans are blissfully unaware, even though people in the military are watching it all unfold in horror.

In 2002, Bush illegally diverted billions of dollars Congress appropriated for the war in Afghanistan to a covert build-up of troops and weapons in the Middle East for an attack on Iraq. Now the president is asking Congress for another $50 billion for the War in Iraq, which he will almost certainly be diverting to the attack on Iran.



The pathetic Democrats in Congress, who already handed Bush $120 billion a few months ago for continuing and escalating his epic disaster in Iraq, are likely to grant him this new king’s ransom to finance an even worse disaster in Iran. If they do, the blood of Iranians and Americans will be equally on all their hands.



The clock is ticking. The only thing that could prevent this Crime Against Peace by the president would be for Congress, as one, to vote to rescind the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which Bush has claimed authorized an unending “war on terror,” and which will be his justification for attacking Iran, and to begin impeachment proceedings against the president and vice president for conspiring to violate the Nuremberg Charter by attacking a nation that poses no immediate threat.



Every American should contact their representatives to demand action (to reach your Congressional delegation, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121).

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1
World War III

Written by David Swanson

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2323/1/

American Fascism: Reaping the Dragon's Teeth

Written by Stan Goff

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2319/1/

In 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by an average of one vote per precinct. Forty years later, George W. Bush was declared the president by an even smaller margin of votes in Florida. Because organizing your own neighborhood can have such national implications, DFA's Night School is focusing the entire month of September on how you can change history by simply talking to the voters in your own neighborhood.

Precinct Organizing: Getting StartedTuesday, September 11 -- 8:30pm EasternRSVP: http://ga1.org/ct/z1xeiS11iBkC/

This is where the 50 State Strategy meets your neighborhood. There are over 203,000 precincts in America and the vast majority of them have never been organized. Neighborhoods that have active precinct programs consistently perform better than unorganized ones. This is something that anyone, anywhere can do. Not only will you increase Democratic voter registration and turnout in every election, but you'll also help build and shape your local Democratic party. If you want to improve the performance of your local party, this Night School Semester is for you:

Precinct Organizing: Getting StartedTuesday, September 11 -- 8:30pm EasternRSVP: http://ga1.org/ct/z7xeiS11ijn1/

VOICES IN THE UNDERGROUND

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September 15th



I know many friends who have committed to marching in DC and other locales on September 15th, and I thought it would be good if we had one spot to keep track of who was going to be where when, etc.

My personal plans haven't been finalized, but I will definitely be down in the capital on the 15th, likely crashing at My Favorite Witch's place.

Ntodd

[Adding: let me emphasize that there probably are other events scheduled around the country, so visit September15.org to see what's going on near you. Even if there's nothing "official," you might consider things you can do on your own to publicly protest. And remember that we need to be persistent and consistent in following up on these marches and other actions...]

[Update: my personal plans have been finalized. I'll be heading down on Thursday the 13th and crashing at Hecate's. Don't forget to sign up with the PaxAction mailing list if you're interested in getting together with a bunch of Atriots and other cool people over the weekend!]

['nother update: For the nebulous gathering people have been talking about, Hecate suggests:

The Dubliner or America, which is inside Union Station. Both are close to the Capitol, which is where the march will end up. For the late night crowd, my brilliant friend Amy will be playing:

SAT SEPT 15 - Washington, DC9PM DOORS, 9:30 SHOW, $8AMY CLARKE @ THE RED AND THE BLACKH Street Corridor NE, Washington, DCfree shuttle to/from Union Station until 2AMafter the A.N.S.W.E.R. march on Washington, DCw/D.C. ACOUSTIC UNDERGROUND & Special Guest DJ Michael Blair (Turtle DC)http://www.redandblackbar.com/

So let's get organized and enjoy ourselves a little while we're all down in DC!

Adding: I've been commanded to make a command decision, so I'm updating the update and saying we'll meet at America for starters. Time TBD.]

Technorati Tags: anti-war, march, nonviolence, september 15th

Are We Even Winning the War Part?

This long piece in the NYT Magazine by Michael Gordon has been getting attention. David Brooks cites it to help make one of his usual bullshit arguments that's just gnomic enough to make gullible readers think he knows what the hell he's talking about. Greater Wingnuttia chimes in with its usual halfwit triumphalism, declaring that Gordon's article proves we've Turned a Corner (which would make the 473rd Corner we've Turned so far, suggesting that the war planning was originally conceived by M. C. Escher). Rob Farley, who is smarter than David Brooks, reads the piece and is less optimistic and indeed aghast, arguing that we're now pursuing a policy that seems certain in the long run to torpedo the viability of any emergent multiethnic Iraqi state (a ship that was probably already dead in the water anyhow).

Rob is right, but he doesn't point out just how strange the article is. Gordon is of course a defender of The Surge in general, even to the extent of earning the praise of demented Cornerite Cliff May. That support is in and of itself not a problem. But when combined with what seems to be his overall inability to truly grasp that there may in fact be limits to American military power in general, it has apparently led him to write an article in which the lede does not match the conclusion.

Gordon begins in media res, with an account of how tribal leaders in Hawr Rajab, "A dusty town on the southern outskirts of Baghdad," have turned against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, in the wake of the Anbar Miracle, and so on:

Hawr Rajab had been under the dominion of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a predominantly Iraqi group that took its inspiration from Osama bin Laden and whose senior echelons are filled by foreign jihadis. The group’s fighters in Hawr Rajab were armed with AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and a seemingly endless supply of homemade improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.’s), many of which were concocted from urea fertilizer and nitric acid....

This day in early August, however, was to mark a turning point. Just a month earlier, the Americans acquired a new ally: Sheik Ali, a leader of the Dulaimi tribe. In an extraordinary development, a growing number of Sunnis who had sympathized with the insurgency or even fought American forces were now more concerned with removing Al Qaeda from their midst — so much so that they had chosen to ally with their supposed occupiers....

Ali had already provided valuable intelligence on Al Qaeda operatives and had been recruiting members of his tribe for what was to be a new, American-backed security force. Al Qaeda’s hold on the town had been weakened, and the sheik was one reason why. The trip to Hawr Rajab was to be a further demonstration that the group’s days there were numbered.

But exactly how "numbered" these days of AQM are is an open question. The article uses as a framing device an expedition into Hawr Rajb on the part of the newly allied tribal fighters and the US military, under the command of Lt. Col. Mark Odom (son of war critic Gen. William Odom). In the first paragraph Odom is "surveying the terrain" he and his men and their new Iraqi allies are about to enter; the mission is to clear out the AQM fighters and distribute food to the town's inhabitants. It's in the next few paragraphs that we get the stuff about the turning points and the numbered days.

But what actually happens on this mission? That's at the end of the article.

As I was scribbling some notes, there was a boom in the distance. Klascius ran over to me and instructed me to get back in the Humvee. “The colonel’s been hit,” he said.

We drove back toward Checkpoint 20 and came upon a terrible sight. The twisted wreck of a Humvee was in the middle of the road. Combat medics were hovering over two soldiers lying in the grass. One was the turret gunner. The other was Odom, whose face was swathed in bandages. The wounded soldiers were lifted by stretcher into waiting Humvees and driven back.

Another Humvee, meanwhile, drove down from Checkpoint 20 to guard our flank. Suddenly there was a massive blast. Much of that Humvee disintegrated into fragments that rained down around us. Nobody could survive such a blast. The radio traffic reported three killed in action.

We were trapped on a “Tier 1 I.E.D. site”— a stretch of road chockablock with buried bombs — with no air cover. There was no heading back to town: the soldiers who had stayed there had been attacked by small arms, and two had been wounded. They would need to be evacuated as well. Yet heading back to Checkpoint 20 was still problematic. A Humvee started to make its way, only to set off another bomb. This blast, at least, was not catastrophic. The front end of the vehicle had been blown off, but there were no casualties....

It was later determined that the militants had laid a defensive belt of seven I.E.D.’s. Hidden wires enabled them to activate the bombs so that they would not be blown up by civilian traffic. After being activated, the bombs were set to explode when the vehicles rolled over pressure-plate detonators. It was an ingenious and low-cost defense, and that day they had owned the road. It was, Klascius observed, his most violent day in Iraq, but it was but one day in a long war and not the end of the battle for the town....

I tracked down Specialist Collazo, the Husky driver, who was an outpatient in Texas and sounded as if he was recovering well. As for Odom, he had returned to his home base at Fort Richardson, Alaska. His left arm and his nose were broken, and he had suffered a concussion. Despite the Hawr Rajab setback, he said that the cooperation with the sheiks had the potential to reduce the attacks on his soldiers and stabilize the town.

I mean no disrespect to anyone, least of all Lt Col Odom, or the men under him on this mission, nor even to Gordon. But the "turning point" bruited in the lede of the article remains hypothetical. Despite the fact that local tribal leaders were supporting the Americans, the Americans and their new allies rather decisively lost this encounter.

Too much of course cannot be made of this one episode in a negative direction. However, it would be equally absurd to look at this article as evidence of wholly positive developments either -- and not just in terms of the wider issues of political reconciliation, either (which Gordon acknowledges). I mean in straightforward military terms.

At least in this area described, it seems abundantly clear that AQM has at least some local support -- the precise degree of which is impossible to determine, but at least enough to make guerrilla tactics against a far better armed foe extremely effective. And that's all that matters, on a practical level.

Even with the turn against AQM in the ANbar Miracle, I very much doubt that AQI failed to radicalize at least a significant minority of the Iraqi Sunni population, and that's going to be a long-term problem. AQI or some variant thereof will probably be a threat for generations, even in the best case scenario. Remember that the fact that they have controlled large swaths of territory in Iraq and that the US military for years has been unable to stop them from doing so is already a catastrophe of the first order, one that probably cannot be wholly undone. All they really need is the ability to plant a well-placed bomb and they can foment as much sectarian unrest as they like. They don't even need to control territory, and the fact that they have, and in some places they do, is probably far more than they ever thought they'd accomplish in their wildest dreams.

All of which is to say, is that the best-case scenario of The Surge, even militarily, where it's allegedly a tremendous rosy success, is to simply mitigate the appalling consequences of an utter disaster.

Listening to the Guys on the Ground

Okay, so Bush invites the media to yet another Dog and Pony Show by jetting off to Anbar Province just to show that, hey, if you surround yourself with legions of military guys, Iraq REALLY IS SAFER than it used to be.

By now most sentient people throughout the world realize the level of this disaster. The problem is here at home, a majority recognize the folly but, sadly to say, just doesn't care. So Bush can run off to Iraq, pose with some more soldiers — in fact, when was the last time this president posed with anyone who wasn't a soldier or a member of the VFW or American Legion — and nobody bothers to yell, "Hey, George, what the hell is goin' on? Get us out of this mess!"

The Los Angeles Times noted September 4 that despite what the White House is claiming, that the "Surge" is working and sectarian kilings in Baghdad are down, the numbers of people getting slaughtered in this meat-grinder of a war are about the same or worse than at the same time last year.

Here's the important point, though. Despite the ignorance-is-bliss attitude of most of the American public and, unfortunately, most of the Democrats in Congress, despite the pronouncements of the administration — hey, they taught us to accept the word "surge" didn't they? — many of the soldiers on the ground are saying they want out. They're saying this whole bag of crap is nonsense. Privately, according to the Times, "many troops say the military builduup should have been able to do far more by now than cut the number of attacks in some neighborhoods."

One officer who's been there for three terms summed it all up for the LA Times reporters: "This is not a military contest," he said.

Is anybody listening?

Glenn

Given how much I've been pushing the war tax resister stuff of late, I figured today's Method should be 122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance:

In many situations, the making of speeches and the publication and distribution of literature which call on people to undertake some form of nonviolent noncooperation or nonviolent intervention themselves become acts of defiance and resistance. This is especially so in those countries where any call for resistance, especially for illegals acts of resistance, is itself illegal or seditious.

In England, for example, six members of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War were imprisoned in December 1959 for distributing leaflets calling upon people illegally to enter a rocket base site at Harrington. In Madrid fourteen men from Murcia province were charged with incitement to military rebellion and sentenced to imprisonment from six months to six years for distributing leaflets calling for a nationwide general strike on June 18, 1959.

This falls into the "rejection of authority" category of political noncooperation (from Gene Sharp's The Politics of Nonviolent Action):

Political noncooperation is the third subclass of methods on noncooperation [the others being social and economic]; these methods involve refusals to continue the usual forms of political participation under existing conditions. Sometimes they are known as political boycotts. Individuals and small groups may practice methods of this class. Normally, however, political noncooperation involves larger numbers of people in corporate, concerted, usually temporary suspension of normal political obedience, cooperation and behavior.

Political noncooperation may also be undertaken by government personnel and even governments themselves. The purpose of suspension of political cooperation may simply be protest, or it may be personal dissociation from something seen as morally or politically objectionable, without much consideration as to consequences. More frequently, however, an act of political noncooperation is designed to exert pressure on the government, on an illegitimate group attempting to seize control of the government apparatus, or sometimes on another government.

The aim of the political noncooperation may be to achieve a particular limited objective or a change in broader government policies. Or it may be to change the nature or composition of that government, or even to produce its disintegration...

The political significance of these methods increases in proportion to the numbers participating and to the need for their cooperation for the operation of the political system...

Political noncooperation may take an almost infinite variety of expressions, depending on the particular situation. Basically they all stem from a desire not to assist the opponent by performance of certain types of political behavior.

A year before his arrest for sedition, Gandhi wrote in Young India on March 30, 1921:

If sedition means disaffection towards the present system of Government, it is a virtue and a duty. But we do not need to preach it...We cannot paint the system blacker than it appears to the average audience today. All we need do is to show the people the way to destroy it. That way is self-purification. We shall put the Government in an uncomfortable corner...
Hitherto the word “revolution” been connected with violence, and has as such been condemned by established authority. But the movement of non-co-operation, if it may be considered a revolution, is not an armed revolt: it is an evolutionary revolution, it is a bloodless revolution. The movement is a revolution of thought, of spirit. Non-co-operation is a process of purification, and, as such, it constitutes a revolution in one’s ideas. Its suppression, therefore, would amount to co-operation by coercion...



Inaction on our part will kill Government madness. For violence flourishes on response, either by submission to the will of the violator, or by counter-violence. My strong advice to every worker is to segregate this evil Government by strict non-co-operation, not even to talk or speak about it, but having recognized the evil, to cease to pay homage to it by co-operation.
I don't know if that specific article was used as part of the basis for the sedition charge, but certainly his writings in Young India in general were. Fans of Attenborough's movie might remember a stirring court scene that encapsulated the trial which ended with this statement (necessarily summarized in the film):

I know that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk, and if I were set free I would still do the same. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also last article of my creed. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am sorry for it. Their crime consisted in the love of their country.

I am here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest Penalty. In my opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good Nonviolence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-co-operation with evil. I am here to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be the inflected upon me for what in law is a deliberated crime and what appears to me be the highest duty of a citizen.

The only cause open to, judge, is either to resign post and thus dissociate yourself from evil if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is evil and that I am innocent or to inflict on me the severest penalty, if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the public weal.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, though he was released early because of illness (he was 53 at that point and had ended a fast just prior to his arrest on March 10).

In the US, we still have the Smith Act on the books, which was passed in 1940 and has been used three times to prosecute people allegedly advocating the overthrow of our government. And lest you think that we've forgotten quaint little things like sedition in a post-9/11 crazy world:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico...demanded an explanation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for investigating a federal employee who published an editorial critical of the Bush administration in a local newspaper.



In her letter to the weekly Alibi, Laura Berg, a clinical nurse specialist, criticized the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War, noting that, “as a VA nurse working with returning…vets, I know the public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder.” She urged readers to “act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.”



In September 2005, VA Information Security employees seized Berg’s office computer because they claimed “government equipment was used inappropriately…during government time for drafting an editorial letter.” No evidence was recovered to support that belief.



“The VA had no reason to suspect Laura Berg used government resources to produce her editorial,” said ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson. “She signed the letter as a private individual. From all appearances, the seizure of her work computer was an act of retaliation and a hardball attempt to scare Laura into silence.”

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved playing with fire...

ntodd
My sentiments exactly.

Operation Mosquito: I Won't Pay A Lot For This Muffler

My very first 198 Sundays post was about Method 90 (Revenue Refusal) and I spoke a bit about war tax resistance in my last Paxcast. As it so happens, today is the 218th anniversary of the creation of the US Treasury by act of Congress and I thought it appropriate to revisit the subject for Operation Mosquito.

First off, I found a Counterpunch article via the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee that really emphasizes my major point regarding all resistance:

Texas school teacher Shirley Smith made the connection between her tax dollars and the war in Iraq during the first week of the invasion. It was March 27, 2003, and she was listening to Bitta Mostofi speak at the University of Texas campus at Austin. Mostofi had been to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness, serving witness to sufferings caused by USA-supported sanctions.

It was right after the invasion and only a few weeks before the tax deadline, recalls Smith. Mostofi said it would be an effective protest against the war if everyone refused to pay taxes. And that's when the light went on. Right away, Smith submitted a new W-4 form, so that no taxes would be withheld. No more money would go from her to the war. On April 15, 2003, Smith joined an annual protest at the downtown Austin post office. Camera crews captured her image as she helped to pass out leaflets. The next day a couple of colleagues spoke to her about seeing pictures on the local news. One colleague got excited.

"She told me she would like to stop paying her taxes, too," recalls Smith. "So I explained to her that we re-direct our tax money into groups that work for peace. And then she wasn't quite as interested. I think it's important to stress that we're not in this for personal gain." Like many war tax resisters, Smith sends her tax money to an escrow fund, where interest gets applied to peace work.

When tax day rolled around this year, Smith enclosed a letter with her tax form, explaining why she would not send money. In August she received her first reply from the Internal Revenue Service. On November 16, she received her third. It arrived by certified mail, warning Smith that the IRS would begin looking for property or other assets to attach.

IRS Public Affairs officer Ken Vargas of the Austin office explains that the collections office sends out "soft notices" first, followed by "harder notices" later. Vargas says the IRS doesn't keep a handy record of war tax resisters, and he insists that "normal collection procedures" apply to all subjects, regardless of whether they write letters stating their war tax resistance.

What's my point? That school teachers and other Ordinary People can resist the regime and its war. We're all moral actors and can carry out acts of conscience small and large if we realize what power we all possess.

So in today's missive I informed Nancy and Harry that I am engaged in war tax resistance--I refused to pay my 2006 taxes, quit my job and now choose to live under the poverty line--and sent them an Appeal to Conscience. Since Congress has to this point refused to defund the war, it's really up to us. Anybody else ready to join me and thousands of others by taking that step?

ntodd
Operation Himmlergram

In addition to giving Nancy and Harry some informative DVDs, I also sent them a few little history lessons.

August 31:

The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack on 31 August 1939 against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Republic of Poland) on the eve of World War II in Europe.

This provocation was one of several actions in Operation Himmler, a Nazi Germany project to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which would be used to justify the subsequent invasion of Poland.

The Gleiwitz incident was only a part of a larger operation, carried out by Abwehr and SS forces. At the same time as the Gleiwitz attack there were other incidents orchestrated by Germany along the Polish-German border, such as house torching in the Polish Corridor and spurious propaganda output. The entire project, dubbed Operation Himmler and comprising 21 incidents in all, was intended to give the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany.

For months prior to the 1939 invasion German newspapers and politicians like Adolf Hitler accused Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of Ethnic Germans living in Poland.

On the day following the Gleiwitz attack, 1 September 1939, Germany launched the Fall Weiss operation — the invasion of Poland — initiating World War II in Europe. On the same, day, in a speech in the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler cited the 21 border incidents, with three of them called very serious, as justification for Germany's "defensive" action against Poland. Just a few days earlier, on 22 August, he told his generals "I shall give a propaganda reason for starting the war; whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth."

United States correspondents were summoned to the scene next day, but no neutral parties were allowed to investigate the incident in detail and the international public was skeptical of the German version of the incident. A few days after the Invasion of Poland, the international public and press realized the huge scale of the German "defensive action" in the days immediately after the Gleiwitz incident meant that the operation had to be planned months in advance.

September 1:

The Invasion of Poland, 1939 (in Poland also "the September Campaign," "Kampania wrześniowa," and "the 1939 Defensive War," "Wojna obronna 1939 roku"; in Germany, "the Poland Campaign," "Polenfeldzug," codenamed "Fall Weiss," "Case White," by the German General Staff, and sometimes called "the Polish-German War of 1939"), which precipitated World War II, was carried out by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and a small German-allied Slovak contingent.

The invasion of Poland marked the start of World War II in Europe as Poland's western allies, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand], declared war on Germany on September 3, soon followed by France, South Africa and Canada, among others. The invasion of Poland began September 1, 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and ended October 6, 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland.

Following a German-staged "Polish attack" on August 31, 1939, on September 1, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon forced to withdraw east. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces then began a withdrawal southeast, following a plan that called for a long defense in the Romanian bridgehead area where the Polish forces were to await an expected Allied counter-attack and relief.

On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Red Army invaded the eastern regions of Poland in cooperation with Germany. The Soviets were carrying out their part of the secret appendix of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence. Facing the second front, the Polish government decided the defense of the Romanian bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered the evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania.[8] By October 1, Germany and the Soviet Union had completely overrun Poland, although the Polish government never surrendered. In addition, Poland's remaining land and air forces were evacuated to neighboring Romania and Hungary. Many of the exiles subsequently joined the recreated Polish Army in allied France, French-mandated Syria, and the United Kingdom.

In the aftermath of the September Campaign, a resistance movement was formed. Poland's fighting forces continued to contribute to Allied military operations and did so throughout the duration of World War II. Germany captured the Soviet-occupied areas of Poland when it invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, and lost the territory in 1944 to an advancing Red Army. Over the course of the war, Poland lost over 20% of its pre-war population under an occupation that marked the end of the Second Polish Republic.

I wonder if they'll pick up on my very subtle message.

Peace, within & without, comes from compassion

NTodd told me to post a sermon, so you have to blame him for the following!

I have been thinking about something from Benedict Spinoza: "Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice."

My own opinion is that there is much truth to this, but it is also true that war is not peace (contra Ingsoc). Nevertheless, it seems obvious that it is much easier to develop interior peace when not in a war zone and also that it is easier to work for peace when one is at peace within. We have a sort of feedback loop and it really isn't necessary to privilege one understanding of peace over the other.

November is known in Mexico as the "month of the dead." On the first day of November, the Church celebrates All Saints day, rejoicing in the good and holy lives of those who have gone before. Traditionally the next day is a day of praying for the departed who might not have done so well. At the time of the English Reformation, Archbishop Cranmer cleaned up the calendar and one of the things he did was to abolish "All Souls day" because, after all, we are all "saints." I dare say that the good bishop have a good theological point, but psychology was very much on the side of the tradition (this is frequently the case & why the tradition is the way it is) and the newest calendar of The Episcopal Church now includes on the second day of November "Commemoration of all Faithful Departed."

Sermon for All Saints by Prior Aelred -- about peace as compassion for others leading to peace within and without.

Lessons:Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10, 13-14.Revelation 7:2-4, 9-17.Matthew 5:1-12.

Prayer and death--these are significant topics, prayer and death--and both are central, I believe, not only to today’s feast of All Saints, but to our observance tomorrow of All Souls.

From earliest times it seems that the Church has conceived the saints in glory as in some way helping us by their intercession and their miracles. This makes sense when we remember that the saints are the ones who have been recognized as being like Jesus and it is He who is the one who now stands before the throne of the Father ever making intercession for us.

In the Gospels the nature of the compassion of Jesus is expressed by the Greek word, "splangchnidzomai," which is usually translated as “moved with compassion.” Jesus was "splangchnidzomai "because of this or that person or situation or because the people were like sheep without a shepherd. The scholars say that the word is an extremely strong one which means a deep agitation of the entrails--a visceral turmoil.

The theory of deification (which I confess is a process that is beyond my ability to imagine) seems to suggest that as we become detached from our biased attachments, our futile pursuits (that are actually concealed attempts to escape), our obsessive concern for the opinion of others and so on, there begins to be formed in us that absolutely gratuitous "splangchnidzomai," which the ancients called "agape" and which is really the inexplicable love which God has for us.

Years ago Anders Nygren and Martin D’Arcy argued about the right way to understand "agape." Looking back on it now, it seems to me that they were arguing at cross purposes about whether talk about God's love implied that God could change. This is really a difficulty stemming from analogy based on our experience. Our feelings change. Our feelings invariably get entangled in concerns about reciprocity and what is fair and just and who hurt who more. God's love is unchanging.

God loves us in spite of our cruelty and injustice and violence and scandals. The mystics tell us that it is experiencing God's love towards ourselves that makes it possible to share it with one another. We begin to know ourselves loved not because we are good or worthy but simply because we are human. Thus it is that, having accepted God's free love for ourselves, we become able to love all other human beings, to love the human race and condition, not because they have earned it but simply because God loves them.

This does not happen all at once, but as it breaks in upon us and we are able to let go of self interest and from the need to insist on restitution, the mind that is in Christ begins to give us the capacity to love human beings without any sort of discrimination, in imitation of the love, quite without rivalry, which the Father has for us.

So it is that we can be confident that the saints intercede for us -- they have come to share in the "splangchnidzomai" of Christ. The fact that they are dead does not affect that, for, as Our Lord says, God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for to Him all are alive.

But what of those of us who haven't made it yet -- what about tomorrow -- what about hell?

Fr. Anthony used to say that you have to believe that there is a hell but you don't have to believe that there is anybody there. One can go further and state that it is perfectly legitimate for us to hope, in the strictest theological sense, and pray that there is nobody there. Matthew Kelty, a monk of Gethsemani, has proposed exactly that. He points out that Jesus has promised us whatever we pray for and he has decided to pray that everyone who has ever lived the same time he has will go to heaven.

Nevertheless, our attitude must be to hope and not to take for granted that hell stays empty. I hope that Origen's speculation of the "apokatatastis" turns out to be right, and that at the end, as Julian of Norwich says, all manner of things are well for everybody and that even the most obstinate of sinners have learned to accept forgiveness. But there is a great difference between hoping in this possibility and taking it for granted.

Today let us gives thanks for the prayers of those who have gone before, but tomorrow let us join them in their "splangchnidzomai." Let tomorrow be the day on which we pray especially for those with no one to pray for them, who died despairing, the forgotten, those who left behind memories of hate and resentment, those who everyone would like to see burn eternally.

Operation Mosquito Made Easy

Today I ordered copies of War Made Easy for Nancy and Harry.

ntodd
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BACK TO THE EVERYDAY FOLKS

Baghdad's neighborhoods continue to split along sectarian lines, violence shifts elsewhere and infighting stalls political progress.

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer September 4, 2007

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military buildup that was supposed to calm Baghdad and other trouble spots has failed to usher in national reconciliation, as the capital's neighborhoods rupture even further along sectarian lines, violence shifts elsewhere and Iraq's government remains mired in political infighting.



In the coming days, U.S. military and government leaders will offer Congress their assessment of the 6-month-old plan's results. But a review of statistics on death and displacement, political developments and the impressions of Iraqis who are living under the heightened military presence reaches a dispiriting conclusion.

Unexpected visit
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Maliki sees political progress

Despite the plan, which has brought an additional 28,500 U.S. troops to Iraq since February, none of the major legislation that Washington had expected the Iraqi parliament to pass into law has been approved.



The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has increased, not decreased, according to the United Nations' International Organization for Migration and Iraq's Ministry for Displacement and Migration.Military officials say sectarian killings in Baghdad are down more than 51% and attacks on civilians and security forces across Iraq have decreased. But this has not translated into a substantial drop in civilian deaths as insurgents take their lethal trade to more remote regions.



Last month, as many as 400 people were killed in a bombing in a village near the Syrian border, the worst bombing since the war began in March 2003. In July, 150 people were reported killed in a village about 100 miles north of Baghdad.And in a sign that tamping down Sunni-Shiite violence is no guarantee of stability, a feud between rival Shiite Muslim militias has killed scores of Iraqis in recent months.



Last week, at least 52 people died in militia clashes in the Shiite holy city of Karbala.At best, analysts, military officers and ordinary Iraqis portray the country as in a holding pattern, dependent on U.S. troops to keep the lid on violence."The military offensive has temporarily suppressed, or in many cases dislocated, armed groups," said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group. "Once the military surge peters out, which it will if there is no progress on the political front, these groups will pop right back up and start going at each other's, and civilians', throats again."



Political stalemate Iraq's political stalemate and the continued violence have forced a major shift in the mind-set of U.S. officials, who had lofty visions of the plan creating conditions under which Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's Shiite-led government would foster reconciliation among Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds.Like the Baghdad neighborhoods where Sunni and Shiite Muslims and Christians once lived side by side, the early troop-buildup "benchmarks" have been whittled down to remnants of their former selves.



Now, military and government officials highlight progress on the local, neighborhood and even street level. Much of it hinges on the future of deals struck with former insurgents who until recently were aiming their guns at U.S. forces."There are . . . if you will, mini-benchmarks where things are happening," U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said Aug. 21. Crocker cited Anbar province, west of Baghdad, where violence has dropped substantially since Sunni Arab leaders there began working with U.S. and Iraqi security forces."We've seen that phenomenon in different forms move through different parts of the country," Crocker said. "It's the steps these tribes, communities, individuals are taking. . . . You've got to keep an eye on that too."



Anbar's situation is far from solid, though. A bomber attacked a mosque in one of its main cities, Fallouja, on Aug. 27, killing at least 10 people, and scores of civilians and Iraqi security forces have died in bombings elsewhere in the province in recent months.Anbar also represents just one particularly homogenous Sunni Arab slice.



There is no indication that progress made there can be replicated on a grand enough scale to have a nationwide effect."It's always easy to get the prospective loser in a civil war to agree to a cease-fire," said Stephen Biddle, a counterinsurgency expert at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised military commanders in Iraq.



Sunnis are a minority and far more open to switching loyalties if it ensures them a future stake in governing Iraq, he said."It's a lot tougher to get the prospective winner to agree to a cease-fire," Biddle said, referring to the majority Shiites. "Getting them to sign on is going to be harder because they see themselves in ascendancy."Expressing optimism Publicly, at least, U.S. military leaders express optimism."The effects of our surge and reconciliation efforts are beginning to pay off," the day-to-day commander of U.S. ground troops, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, told a Pentagon news briefing Aug. 17. "



Total attacks are on a monthlong decline and are at their lowest levels since August of 2006. Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low."President Bush and Crocker also lauded an announcement by Maliki that Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders had resolved differences over some of the legislation sought by Washington. But Sunni leaders say this is not enough to make them end their boycott of parliament, which reconvenes today after a summer break.The lack of Sunni participation would undermine the credibility of any bill passed into law.



Privately, many troops say the military buildup should have been able to do far more by now than cut the number of attacks in some neighborhoods.Pouring troops into the capital is no doubt going to make some areas safer, said one Marine officer, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the upcoming assessment."I don't know anyone who said, 'Let's have an argument on whether 20,000 troops can have an impact on some neighborhoods,' " the officer said. "I heard a debate about whether a 20,000-man surge would appreciably enhance the security of the Iraqi people and end the sectarian violence so political reconciliation could occur across the country, not just in Baghdad neighborhoods."



This is not a military contest," he said.The shakiness of Iraq's capacity for reconciliation under current conditions is especially evident in Baghdad, the focus of the buildup. The sprawling capital is a patchwork quilt of neighborhoods split along sectarian lines that appears to have become more balkanized, not less, in the last six months."The surge now is isolating areas from each other . . . and putting up permanent checkpoints.



That is what I call a failure," said Yousif Kinany, an engineer in Hurriya, a northwestern area that has become primarily Shiite.Sectarian 'cleansing' People who describe their neighborhoods as calm often attribute this to the sectarian "cleansing" of Sunnis or Shiites. Many say that better security is attributable to a heavy U.S. presence in their neighborhoods and that whenever those troops scale down operations, trouble returns.Hamid Abdul Kareem, a supermarket owner in the northeastern neighborhood of Shaab, said the area was relatively secure.



He said that was because of an exodus of Sunni families from Shaab, where the Mahdi Army loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr has a strong presence."Sunnis still live in the region, but I think within the next year, the region will be totally Shiite," Kareem said.Hassan Shimari is one such Sunni. He lives in Shaab with his wife, a Shiite. He also wears a beard and is grateful for his dark complexion because it makes him look more Shiite than Sunni.He said Shaab was quiet because Sunnis were lying low and because there was still enough of an American presence there to keep Shiite militias under control."



If there is any weakening of the American forces here, it will be very, very bad," said Shimari, a taxi driver. "In the last three days, I've driven four families at 6 in the morning to travel companies so they could leave for Syria. Those who can afford it leave."Civilian toll Determining accurate civilian death tolls is virtually impossible in Iraq, where the government has no single source for reporting deaths related to the war.



Whichever numbers one uses, however, it is clear that thousands of Iraqis continue to be slain or driven from their homes.According to U.S. military figures, an average of 1,000 Iraqis have died each month since March in sectarian violence. That compares with about 1,200 a month at the start of the security plan, the military said in an e-mailed response to queries. This does not include deaths from car bombings, which the military said have numbered more than 2,600 this year.



Figures from Iraqi government ministries point to far higher casualty numbers and show that this year, an average of 1,724 civilians a month have died in sectarian attacks, bombings and other war-related violence.In February, the civilian death toll was 1,646. Last month, it was 1,773, according to numbers from officials in the ministries of Defense, Interior and Health, who cite morgue, hospital and police reports.



It was the second straight month that casualties have increased since the security plan began.Dana Graber-Ladek of the International Organization for Migration said internal displacement had escalated since the troop buildup began. The increase is partly because of people fleeing military offensives, and partly because of better record-keeping by the Ministry for Displacement and Migration, Graber-Ladek said.But 63% of those displaced this year said they had moved because of threats to their security, according to the International Organization for Migration. One-fourth said they were forced from their homes.The organization also said that 69% of newly displaced Iraqis had left homes in Baghdad, a sign that sectarian cleansing continues in the capital.



These people had either moved to new neighborhoods in the capital or had left Baghdad altogether."Basically, Iraqis are fleeing because they flee for their lives," Graber-Ladek said. "As long as the violence continues, displacement will continue."Opposition in U.S. Bush faces heightened opposition to the war even within his own party. That opposition probably will increase unless the report given to Congress offers a positive picture that remains elusive to most in Iraq.But no matter how much of a letdown Iraqis say the troop buildup has been, many here say withdrawing U.S. forces would make things worse.



In areas where they are present, at least, violence is at bay, most Iraqis said.



For the troops, the fear is that any gains will be lost if there is an abrupt pullout."As a professional soldier, you want to make sure that when you walk away, all the blood, sweat and tears you and your soldiers put in achieved something," said Capt. Jonathan Fursman, a company commander with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, in south Baghdad's volatile Dora neighborhood, a Sunni area. "



It may be the right time for the American people, but in no shape or form is it the right time for the Iraqi people."tina.susman@latimes.comTimes staff writers Julian E. Barnes in Washington and Alexandra Zavis in Baghdad and special correspondents in Baghdad contributed to this report.



Discussion

READERS WEIGH IN: Share your thoughts on the latest developments in the Iraq war.

1. A crime is not a crime until you are convicted. So you can argue that this war is immoral all you'd like. But until you see someone go to prison for it, it is NOT illegal. Besides, what exactly is reducing the number of soldiers really going to do, huh? We've already destroyed most of the internal systems of the country. They have their own security forces, yes. But they're still a little green and unsure of themselves. Without our muscle to serve as the backbone public order would collapse in a very short period of time.Submitted by: Daniel Fisk10:09 AM PDT, Sep 5, 2007

2. Believe me believe me not, Iraq war will never end because the war is not genuine. See the way you are using forged pictures in courts to forge executions!!. The most politicaly experienced powerful sunnis in Iraq view the forged regime change by America as stupid and executions as revenge. For sure America is promoting injustice there, how can you win the war by that!!. Bush should instead if he thinks inceasing troops works, either take all of them or begin to withdraw all of them, carry the shame back and prepare for revenge attacks from home. Bush's stupidity will never make him win any war.Submitted by: James T.J.9:12 AM PDT, Sep 5, 2007

3. Bush will have to withdraw a number of troops by April. Not because the surge has been any more of a success than this pointless war, but because the alternative is to extend deployment periods yet again. The Army and Marine Corps can't sustain this level of commitment. The Navy and the Air Force are okay but they'll be busy bombing Iran. Our experience under this administration should prompt a thorough review and clarification of executive powers granted by the Constitution.Submitted by: Some troops WILL be withdrawn.8:57 AM PDT, Sep 5, 2007

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