Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President:

We were among the signers of the statement issued last week by the Health Care Finance Group ( http://www.sunya.net/healthfi...). That statement challenged the claim, frequently presented in your speeches and campaign advertising, that your opponent's health care proposals would amount to a "government take-over" of the health care system and result in "government-run health care."

The nonpartisan statement, which neither endorses nor rejects any particular approach to health care policy, has been signed by ninety-five of the nation's leading experts in health policy and health care finance. It makes clear that, whatever the merits of Senator Kerry's proposals, it is simply not accurate to describe them as you have.

If you believe that we are mistaken, please direct us to any genuine expert in health care policy or health care finance who agrees with your claim, or any genuine analysis that supports it. Otherwise, we would respectfully suggest that it does not serve the nation or honor the office of the presidency to continue to make a charge so obviously contrary to fact.

Very truly yours,

Arleen A. Leibowitz
Professor of Public Policy
UCLA School of Public Affairs

Theodore R. Marmor
Professor of Public Policy and Management and Political Science
Yale School of Management

Seen at Mark Kleiman's blog.

Zarqawi - further

An aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist leader in Iraq with a $25 million U.S. reward on his head, was killed today in a U.S. air strike in the city of Fallujah, the U.S. military said.

"A precision strike in northwest Fallujah, conducted at 3 a.m., has taken another toll on the Zarqawi network," the military said in an e-mailed statement. "Multiple sources reported that a known associate of the Zarqawi network was present at the time of the strike." The military didn't identify the Zarqawi aide.
Bloomberg article

We don't ever have to relinquish Zarqawi as our bogeyman. As long as we have him, we can kill his "aides" and get about the same mileage.

Separately, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said carelessness by some in the U.S.-led military coalition was to blame for the killing on Oct. 23 of 52 Iraqi army recruits and their drivers, Agence France-Presse reported without giving details.

Hmmmmm....didn't see that reported by American news. Damned French press.

Update 3:15pm:

The good thing about blogging is somebody will sometimes do your work for you. Bob sends the following:

It's the lead story on MSNBC: link

The NY Times has it: link

CNN mentions it in a story, but not in the headlines: link

Washington Post, too, with headline: link

Even Fox News has it: link

Falluja pleads for UN intervention


Kassim Abdullsattar al-Jumaily
The Study Center of Human Rights & Democracy

On behalf of the people of Fallujah and for:
Al-Fallujah Shura Council
The Bar Association
The Teacher Union
Council of Tribes Leaders
The House of Fatwa and Religious Education


His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations New York

Fallujah 14 October 2004

Your Excellency

It is very obvious that the American forces are committing crimes of genocide every day in Iraq. Now, while we are writing to Your Excellency, the American forces are committing these crimes in the city of Fallujah. The American warplanes are dropping their most powerful bombs on the civilian in the city, killing and injured hundreds of innocent people. At the same time their tanks are attacking the city with heavy artillery. As you know, there is no military presence in the city. There had been no actions taken by the Fallujah resistance in recent weeks because the negotiations between representatives of the city and the Government which were going well. In this atmosphere, the new bombardment by America has happened while the people of Fallujah have been preparing themselves for the fast of Ramadan. Now many of them are now trapped under the wreckage of their demolished houses, and nobody can help them while the attack continues.

On the night of the 13th October alone American bombardment demolished 50 houses on top of their residents. Is this a genocidal crime or a lesson about the American democracy? It is obvious that the Americans are committing acts of terror against the people of Fallujah for one reason only: their refusal to accept the Occupation.

Continue reading...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Further Falluja report - Saturday (our Friday night)

US forces have pounded the Iraqi town of Falluja for yet another day amid raging gun battles elsewhere in the country.

Fierce fighting erupted in the town of Buhruz northeast of Baghdad near Baquba after Iraqi fighters attacked a US patrol with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades early on Friday morning.

In Falluja, US warplanes and artillery targeted the al-Shuhada and Industrial neighbourhoods of the town....
Aljazeera article

Where Zarqawi was hiding out, I suppose.

Collective punishment. We will permanently cripple that town or raze it.

Ratcheting up in Iraq

U.S. warplanes have pounded and obliterated suspected weapons storage sites in Falluja, according to the U.S. military.

Hospital officials in Falluja said Friday that eight people were killed and two wounded, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. military said it had no reports of casualties.

...Britain announced on Thursday that it would move elite troops nearer Baghdad to allow U.S. forces to redeploy and ratchet up operations against militants in Falluja and other rebellion-stoked cities. (Full story)
CNN article

Judging by what has been happening, "ratchet up" for Falluja must mean annihilation. And for every ratcheting up, more rebellion is guaranteed. What once were pacific cities are lining up in the "rebellion-stoked" category. "Ratcheting up" leads in one direction only.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Falluja in their sites

Journalist Patrick Graham, who has been in Iraq, and specifically in Falluja during the first bloody assaults, tells us what to expect when the Marines make their planned seige after the election (ours).

The Americans have more than enough troops to attack Falluja, but as soon as they do the area will once more erupt, and it will take everything the Americans have to control the surrounding villages of Habbaniya, Khaldiya and Al Kharma. According to the Iraqi president, Ghazi al-Yawar, there is a good chance that when the marines hit Falluja again, even Mosul, home to three million Sunnis, will explode. Unlike the US army, Mr Yawar knows what he is talking about and understands the way the tribes are grouped in northern Iraq, an intricate web of families that runs through the Sunni triangle. If Mosul is pushed over the edge, holding the north will be like trying to keep the lid on a pressure cooker by hand.
Guardian article

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Today's Falluja report

US warplanes unleashed a series of strikes in the Iraqi city of Falluja overnight on buildings claimed to be connected to al-Qaida-linked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network.

...US and Iraqi forces have also surrounded the town of al-Dhuluaiya, north of Baghdad, raiding homes, detaining scores of suspected insurrectionists and calling in helicopter strikes on suspected hideouts in surrounding orchards, Iraqi officials said.
Aljazeera article

Monday, October 18, 2004

Negotiating peace in Falluja

A top Falluja negotiator who has been released from US custody says peace talks with the interim Iraqi government have been called off.

"The people of Falluja have suspended negotiations, despite the fact they had made progress, because of arrests like mine and American policies," Khalid Hamud al-Jumaili said.

Al-Jumaili was released at 2am (2300 GMT) on Monday after his arrest three days ago.
  Aljazeera article

Puppet Tough GuyAllawi last week threatened to crush Falluja (which the Americans are already doing) if the city does not cooperate by "turning over" terrorists, something the people of the city have no ability to do. And now suddenly he says he's going to provide $2 million in aid to the ravaged city. Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd say this man is even less stable than Saddam Hussein.

Battles between US forces and insurgents in Falluja lasted for nine hours on Sunday and were punctuated by air strikes.

"I think the residents of Falluja don't want this sort of peace. They want real peace, not a peace that stabs in the back and strikes and destroys homes and kills women," Jumaili said.

"Who asks for peace while bombs strike? Who agrees to peace when women are being killed?"

Oh, wow. We never thought of that.

Al-Jumaili is a member of the Mujahideen Shura (council) of tribal notables and insurgent leaders in Falluja, which has been in the hands of guerrillas since a US offensive in April failed to dislodge them. Police there do not answer to Baghdad.

The negotiator said he had met US civilian and political representatives, not Iraqi police or the US-established Iraqi National Guard.

"The US representatives said Falluja will receive their rightful reconstruction aid and compensation soon, but they need time," said al-Jumaili.

"We told them that they had enough time and it was time for them to hold talks and achieve peace."

Ah. The reason Allawi has flip-flopped to an offer of aid money. I would trust that puppet asshole as much as I trust Bush. And I'm sure that al-Jumaili is at least that smart.

US civilian and political representatives are negotiating the deals. Sovereign, eh? What a joke. Because you'll believe anything.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Razing Falluja

Allawi warned Wednesday that Fallujah must surrender al-Zarqawi and other foreign fighters or face military attack.

Abu Asaad, spokesman for the religious council of Fallujah, said that ''handing over al-Zarqawi'' was an ''impossible condition'' since even the Americans were unable to catch him.

''Since we exhausted all peaceful solutions, the city is now ready to bear arms and defend its religion and honor and it's not afraid of Allawi's statements,'' Asaad said in a live interview with Al-Jazeera television.

... ''Military operations didn't even stop when the negotiating delegation was in Baghdad,'' Asaad said. ''Dozens are killed every day. Entire families have been eliminated.''

The government made no comment about the breakdown of the Fallujah talks. However, national security adviser Qassem Dawoud said military operations against Fallujah ''will continue'' until the city ''has been cleansed'' of ''terrorists.''

Dawoud said he is hopeful the delegation will succeed in ridding the city of insurgents.

''I hope they can succeed and can take them away from Fallujah as soon as possible, or otherwise, we're preparing ourselves to smash them ... by military means,'' he said.

...Late Thursday, residents of the city, 40 miles west of Baghdad, reported shuddering American bombardments using planes and armored vehicles in what they said was the most intensive shelling since U.S. forces began weeks of ''precision strikes'' aimed at al-Zarqawi's network.

In Washington, however, a senior military official, speaking on operational matters on condition of anonymity, described the latest fighting as strikes against specific targets and of the same scope as previous attacks into Fallujah.

Warplanes and artillery pounded the city as two U.S. Marine battalions attacked rebel positions to ''restore security and stability,'' 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told CNN.

''It is going to be a long night,'' he said.
AP article at Orb 6

Total destruction will henceforth be known as "restoring security and stability."

Maj. Francis Piccoli, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told The Associated Press that two Marine battalions were engaged in the fight backed up by aircraft.

He would not say the attack was the start of a major campaign to recapture the city, saying he did not want to jeopardize any future operations.

Piccoli said the goal of the operation was to ''disrupt the capabilities of the anti-Iraqi forces.''

Who do you suppose that would be?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hand over the bad guys, or else

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has threatened military action unless the rebel-held city of Fallujah hands over foreign militants led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is said to be based there.

...Allawi said on Wednesday he hoped the Fallujah negotiators he had met would return to the city and put more pressure on guerrilla factions and the city's people in general to give up the fight.

"I hope they will respond. If they don't then we will have to use force," he said.
ABC article

Military action is a threat to Fallujans? Because what the fuck is happening there now? Christ.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Biblical proportions

Tuesday, the military resumed airstrikes in nearby Fallujah, said to be the hideout of the terrorist network run by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant responsible for numerous bombings, kidnappings and beheadings, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials.
WaPo article

Resumed. As if they had stopped. On Sunday they bombed a wedding party.

Wire service reports said at least one of the buildings hit [on Tuesday] was a restaurant. The Associated Press reported that five people died in the strike on the restaurant.

Precision air strikes aren't quite what they're cracked up to be.

Remember when we were actually hunting for Osama bin Laden in the Afghan desert? Remember the leaflets we dropped over the desert that said the bad guys couldn't get away from us, we are so tough, and our weapons are so awesome? That we have missiles that can target bad guys to such accuracy that we can aim them through windows? While watching the TV news report that incredible, ridiculous, juvenile tripe, my then 17-year-old son said, "Oh my God! They're in caves. They don't have windows." Well, yeah. That, too.

And now, we've thrown out all caution and sensibilities, and are going straight for their Iraqi hiding places - the mosques. That should improve things.

Treading into yet another flashpoint city, U.S. Marines and Iraqi security forces began a series of raids Tuesday on mosques in and around the Sunni city of Ramadi...

The military took pains Tuesday to explain the mosque raids, issuing a statement detailing recent attacks in which a mosque was used as a base or refuge.

Most recently, the Marines said they were attacked Monday from the Sharqi Mosque in the city of Hit near Ramadi, with insurgents engaging in a three-hour firefight using small arms, machine guns and mortars.

Marine airstrikes were called in to end the battle, the military said. Wire services reported that the mosque caught fire after the fight.

...Brig. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford of the 1st Marine Division said in a statement that the mosques are suspected "of participating in a spectrum of insurgent activity, including harboring known terrorists, storing illegal weapons caches, promoting violence against the Iraqi people and encouraging insurgent recruitment."

... "Mosques are granted protective status unless they are being used for militant purposes," said Dunford. "At that time they lose their protective status as places of religious worship."

Angry residents were unreceptive to the explanations, according to wire service reports from the scene.

Yes, I imagine they were.

If it is Armageddon we are looking for, I'm sure I couldn't have done a better job of finding it myself.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Video clip of airstrike on Fallujans

At Information Clearinghouse.

The Pentagon said yesterday it was investigating cockpit video footage that shows American pilots attacking and killing a group of apparently unarmed Iraqi civilians.

The 30-second clip shows the pilot targeting the group of people in a street in the city of Fallujah and asking his mission controllers whether he should "take them out". He is told to do so and, shortly afterwards, the footage shows a huge explosion where the people were.

Meanwhile in Falluja

A wedding party is bombed in a U.S. "precision" airstrike.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Razing Falluja

That is my overused subject title for the destruction of this Iraqi holy city. This morning Radio Free Europe reports there has been yet another strike, and this is the headline that I usually encounter online: U.S. Forces Pound Falluja

Friday, October 1, 2004

Razing Falluja

I really need to expand my monitoring of the destruction of Falluja to include the other Iraqi cities targeted to be bombed into submission. This article reports the latest hellfire we are raining on Samarra.

The U.S. military says it will retake guerrilla strongholds such as Samarra, the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi and the Baghdad districts of Sadr City and Haifa Street by the end of the year so elections can go ahead in January as planned.
Reuters article

Even if we have to flatten them, by God. There's no freedom in a vote when the alternative is a bomb. (By the way, they are no longer insurgents, but rather "anti-Iraqi forces".)

U.S.-led forces stormed Samarra on Friday and said nearly 100 guerrillas were killed in air strikes and street-to-street combat during a major new American offensive to wrest control of the Iraqi town.

Doctors at Samarra's hospital said 47 bodies were brought in, including 11 women, five children and seven elderly men. They said ambulances could not reach many wounded as fighting, which lasted throughout the night, was still going on.

For those of us who choose to remain in denial, the official word is that we are wresting the city from terrorists who are holding it hostage.

...believe what you want...you will anyway.