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Iraq: True Extent Of The 'Surge'
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:13 pm    Post subject: Iraq: True Extent Of The 'Surge' Reply with quote

US Now Has Over 330,000 in Iraq

Officially, there will be 173,000 troops in Iraq, when the latest 'surge'
is completed. The highest number ever.

But when you decode the figures to add in National Guard and
support staff --that shows the 'surge' total is more like 55,000.

And that's not counting the mercenaries. Of which there are up to
120,000 in all capacities. At least 40,000 of these are doing direct
security work.

Sooooo, taking the undeclared real size of the surge into account,
and adding in the mercenaries, then the US in reality has
easily a presence of from about 300,000 to 350,000 in Iraq.

In other words, a Third of a Million.


Quote:
We've Been Surging For Years

Don Monkerud April 06, 2007 TomPaine.com

The number of U.S. forces involved in Iraq is at least twice the number of those quoted in the media. The administration uses a number of deceptions, definitional illusions and euphemisms—including counting only "combat forces" and "military personnel"—to drastically undercount the invasion force.

Even President Bush's January announcement of a "surge" of 21,500 U.S. troops, opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has now grown to 30,000 troops with an additional "headquarters staff" of 3,000—or more than 50 percent more than the official number. The currently reported total U.S. military in Iraq is 145,000, forces which are required to occupy a country slightly more than twice the size of Idaho.

The real number is almost impossible to find in government-released information even with a great amount of interpretation. It’s hidden because few in the administration want to disclose the true extent of the vast U.S. resources invested in personnel, material and other costs.

GlobalSecurity.org, is a public policy organization that provides background information on defense and homeland security. They note that keeping track of American forces has become "significantly more difficult as the military seeks to improve operational security and to deceive potential enemies and the media as to the extent of American operations."

According to John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, there are a number of other reasons affecting the accurate counting of the number of military forces involved in Iraq. Large numbers of troops are activated with unspecified duties to unspecified areas; many small units from various locations are being mobilized from the Army and National Guard, which count units differently; and groups rotate in and out of Iraqi so quickly it's impossible for anyone but the Pentagon to calculated how many are there. The Pentagon tracks these numbers, but Pike says they aren't telling.

"We only try to nail the numbers down when we think Americans are getting ready to blow someone up," Pike says. "The Pentagon knows the numbers and we have certainly not done anything to highball it. Certainly, if there's a chance to release or hold numbers, they are parsimonious."

Additionally, private military "contractors" almost double the number of U.S. forces in Iraq. After four contractors were hung from a bridge in Fallujah in March 2004, the Bush administration stonewalled congressional efforts to force the Pentagon to release information about the number of contractors in Iraq. Finally, the Pentagon reported a total of 25,000.

In "The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security," Deborah D. Avant, director for the Institute for Global and Internal Studies at George Washington University, reports that official numbers are difficult to find, but, "This is the largest deployment of U.S. contractors in a military operation."

In October, the military's first census of contractors totaled 100,000, not counting subcontractors. And in February 2007, the Associated Press reported 120,000 contractors (which would put Bush's "surge" closer to 50,000). Contractors, which some call mercenaries, provide support services essential to maintaining the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Ten times the number of contractors employed during the Persian Gulf War, these contract mercenaries now cook meals, interrogate prisoners, fix flat tires, repair vehicles, and provide guard duty.

Military personnel formerly filled these types of jobs until former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld instituted his "Total Force” plan, which relies on a smaller U.S. military force with "its active and reserve military components, its civil servants, and its contractors." Senator Jim Webb of Virginia called this a "rent-an-army."

So, what are the total of U.S. forces are in Iraq? The government reported 145,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq, but John Pike estimates the current total at 150,000. Another 20,000 will arrive as part of the "surge," a last-gasp public relations effort to save the operation from total failure.

John Pike estimates another 30,000 are "in the theater" to provide Operation Iraqi Freedom support. The Army and Marines have another 10,000 to 20,000 in Kuwait, and a nearby Air Force wing bombing group has 5,000. Current naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, which represents a show of force against Iran, include 10,000 U.S. personnel, the carrier groups Eisenhower and the Stennis, and 15 warships.

Add the 120,000 contract mercenaries and the forces involved in the Iraqi operation and the total comes to 300,000 to 360,000, more than twice the official figure of 145,000 troops. This isn't counting the more than 5,000 British combat troops and naval personnel—down from a high of 40,000 during the initial invasion—or the ragtag remnants of the highly vaulted "Coalition of the Willing," which has dwindled since the beginning of the occupation to 27, mostly small, countries such as Armenia, Estonia, Moldavia and Latvia.

Manipulated figures and private military contractors provide the Bush Administration with political cover to escape public scrutiny and keep injuries, deaths and secret operations out of the public eye. A more accurate and honest view of participation in the Iraqi occupation by the government could give Americans more reason to oppose the waste of lives and resources on this ill-conceived, poorly planned, and disastrous venture.

Don Monkerud is an California-based writer who follows cultural, social
and political issues. He can be reached at monkerud at cruzio.com.


http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/04/06/weve_been_surging_for_years.php

OK, Bradblog is as fake as they get,
but at least the story is interesting:


Quote:
Bush's 'Surge' Several Times Larger,
More Expensive than Administration Claimed


Who Could Have Possibly Foreseen It?...

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa

When George W. Bush announced he would execute a "troop surge" to send more American soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan in January 2007, it was billed as an increase of slightly over 20,000 soldiers that would cost less than six billion dollars.

"America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad," Bush announced in a prime-time televised address. "This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq."

The "surge," recognized as an escalation by many, was immediately controversial for several reasons --- not the least of which was a concern that the increase of 20,000 American soldiers might turn into a much larger US presence in Iraq, and a much more expensive one, than promised.

Three months after Bush's announcement, those fears have come to fruition.

Let's take a look at the numbers, in both troops and dollars...



THE TROOP 'SURGE' SURGE

Less than a month after Bush announced his plan to send slightly over 20,000 additional American soldiers to the middle east (the exact number advertised by the Administration was 21,500), a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) emerged predicting that the "surge" could easily balloon to nearly 50,000 soldiers, when support personnel were taken into consideration.

In a February 1st letter [PDF] from CBO Director Peter Orszag to House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton (D-MO), Orszag wrote that "[The] CBO assumed that additional support troops would be deployed in the same proportion to combat troops that currently exists in Iraq."

"That approach would require about 28,000 support troops in addition to the 20,000 combat troops --- a total of 48,000," he said. Orszag explained that since Bush and the Pentagon had been so vague about their troop surge announcement that the CBO also devised other potential scenarios including one with less support personnel than is typical. At the time, Congressional Republicans and the White House criticized the estimate of nearly 50,000 troops as patently unrealistic.

In early April, the Defense Department announced that a separate and additional 12,000 National Guard could be headed to Iraq and Afghanistan by early next year in connection with the surge. If the Pentagon deployed the normal number of support personnel to cover the new National Guard troops, in addition to the typical number of personnel for the original 21,500 troops plus the initial 21,500 soldiers themselves, the total would reach more than 78,000 in surge-related deployments.

Moreover, the Pentagon recently announced it was sending an extra 9,000 Army troops to Iraq in order to sustain the surge. These 9,000 soldiers, who would not have been shipping out to Iraq were it not for the escalation, will be replacing normal non-surge affiliated soldiers whose tours of duty have expired. Officials say this will have the effect of keeping the overall number of American forces in Iraq well above normal levels.

Combine all those figures together including the normal numbers of support personnel, and the surge adds up to an astounding 87,000 soldiers involved in one way or another.

However, the Defense Department is not sending their normal number of support personnel along with the "surged" troops, and instead is sending a lower ratio of support personnel than ever before in the four plus years of war in Iraq.

Instead of the typical 28,000 support personnel per 20,000 troops deployed which the Congressional Budget Office says is normal, Pentagon officials have said far fewer support personnel are needed for the initial 21,500 troop boost in Iraq. In March, Pentagon officials testified before the Senate, saying that only 7,000 more support personnel maximum would be deployed to Iraq in connection with the early stages of the surge, which officials project will "peak" in May. This reflects only a third of the normal ratio of support personnel to combat troops that have been used in the past.

Assuming the Defense Department does not shortchange the surged troops even further on support personnel, there will be 44,000 soldiers associated with the escalation, not including the 9,000 Army soldiers who will soon join them.

Of those 9,000 troops, about 4,500 will be facing an accelerated deployment, almost three months earlier than Pentagon guidelines allow. Critics say these type of unexpected deployments that leave soldiers less time at home with their families degrade the quality of the military. Some of these soldiers are being sent back to Iraq for a second or even third time.

The budget associated with the escalation is a whole other can of worms.

THE BUDGET SURGE

The Department of Defense and the White House originally claimed that the escalation would cost less than $6 billion, a figure that even some Republicans have called suspect. "It's obvious the $5.6 billion is a number that's not accurate," Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee said in early March. Democrats echoed Gregg's skepticism after Pentagon officials testified before the Committee claiming that $5.6 billion was a perfectly reasonable cost estimate for the escalation.

Only days later, the military revised its own estimate, and increased it by almost one half. Democrats like Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who sits on the Budget Committee, were furious. "A senior Defense Department official testified that the military needed only $5.6 billion to fund Mr Bush's Iraq War escalation," Menendez said, recalling testimony in a statement issued by his office.

"Yet, less than one week later - the Pentagon comes back to the Congress to say they indeed need $2 billion more than they requested. Talk about a surge. If Pentagon officials can't add or subtract - how can we expect them to win a war?"

One key point important to calculating the cost of the escalation is the actual length of the personnel buildup. The White House has resisted guessing how long the "temporary" troop surge will last, and as a result, Congress has largely been left out of the loop. When asked by the Senate Budget Committee to calculate the cost of Bush's surge, the Congressional Budget Office found itself at an impasse because it was unclear how long it might last.

To solve this problem, the CBO again produced separate sets of estimates based on different guesses of how long the surge might last. "If DoD deployed a total of 48,000 troops," Director Peter Orszag wrote in his letter to the Senate Budget Committee, "and sustained that level for four months, costs would be about $13 billion higher than for the current force levels, CBO estimates." That estimate is more than twice the original Administration estimates of cost.

A 12 month buildup might cost an extra $27 billion over normal operating costs, the CBO concluded. If the surge lasted twice that long, it would be projected to reach close to $50 billion. The Pentagon has indicated that it does not know how long Bush's surge could last, and they have opted not to include it in their funding request for 2008.

"You know, things are going to change on the ground," Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England said in Senate testimony, "So there will be, constantly, some variation in [our $5.6B cost estimate]. But that's very close."

Regardless of the accuracy of the Administration's budget or troop estimates, at least they bothered to come up with them. The same cannot be said, as The BRAD BLOG reported with some vigor in January, for an estimation of the number of casualties that will be sustained as part of the "surge."

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4379

This is a reasonable overview article on the current situation,
originally published in the NYTimes.


Quote:

Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup

Alissa J. Rubin and Edward Wong
Published Monday, April 9, 2007

BAGHDAD, April 8 — Nearly two months into the new security push in Baghdad, there has been some success in reducing the number of death squad victims found crumpled in the streets each day.

And while the overall death rates for all of Iraq have not dropped significantly, largely because of devastating suicide bombings, a few parts of the capital have become calmer as some death squads have decided to lie low.

But there is little sign that the Baghdad push is accomplishing its main purpose: to create an island of stability in which Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds can try to figure out how to run the country together. There has been no visible move toward compromise on the main dividing issues, like regional autonomy and more power sharing between Shiites and Sunnis.

For American troops, Baghdad has become a deadlier battleground as they have poured into the capital to confront Sunni and Shiite militias on their home streets. The rate of American deaths in the city over the first seven weeks of the security plan has nearly doubled from the previous period, though it has stayed roughly the same over all, decreasing in other parts of the country as troops have focused on the capital.

American commanders say it will be months before they can draw conclusions about the campaign to secure Baghdad, and just more than half of the so-called surge of nearly 30,000 additional troops into the country have arrived. But at the same time, political pressure in the United States for quick results and a firm troop pullout date has become more intense than ever.

This snapshot of the early weeks of the operation, which officially began on Feb. 14, is drawn from American and Iraqi casualty data and interviews with military commanders and government officials.

Already in that time, the military and political reality has shifted from what American planners faced when they prepared the Baghdad operation, continuing a pattern of rapid change that has become painfully familiar since the 2003 invasion.

In the northern and western provinces where they hold sway, and even in parts of Baghdad, Sunni Arab insurgents have sharpened their tactics, using more suicide car and vest bombs and carrying out successive chlorine gas attacks.

Even as officials have sought to dampen the insurgency by trying to deal with Sunni Arab factions, those groups have become increasingly fractured. There are now at least a dozen major Sunni insurgent groups — many fighting other Sunnis as well as the Americans and the Shiite-led government. A deal made with any one or two would be unlikely to be acceptable to the others.

While Shiite militias appear to have quieted in Baghdad so far, elements of them have been fighting pitched battles outside the city, sometimes against one another, sometimes against Sunni Arabs. They are pushing Sunnis out of their homes and attacking their mosques.

And in a new tactic, both Shiite and Sunni militants have been burning down homes and shops in the provinces in recent months.

One American private in the First Battalion, Fifth Cavalry, who was working the overnight shift at a new garrison in western Baghdad, described the Americans’ fight this way: “The insurgents, they see what we’re doing and we see what they’re doing. Then we get ahead, then they figure out what we’ve done and they get ahead.

“It’s like a game of cat and mouse. It’s just a really, really smart mouse.”

A Shift in Deaths

The incoming five brigades as part of the new security plan will bring the total number of American troops in Iraq to about 173,000 when it is complete, more than at any time since the war began.

Many of the new troops are joining long-term garrisons along with Iraqi forces in particularly violent neighborhoods of Baghdad, keeping up frequent patrols and trying to strengthen relations with Iraqis by meeting with local leaders and residents.

That has put the Americans in the middle of sectarian battlegrounds, and their death rate in the city has nearly doubled. The number of Americans killed in combat or other violence rose to 53 in Baghdad in the first seven weeks of the push, from Feb. 14 to April 2. That is up from 29 in the seven weeks before then.

Diyala Province, just northeast of Baghdad, has also been a trouble spot, bitterly contested by Sunni and Shiite militants. The United States military added a battalion in the province, and the fighting has been fierce, with 15 Americans killed there in the seven weeks starting on Feb. 14. The total from the seven weeks before then was 10.

At the same time, though, the rate of American deaths throughout the country has stayed about the same, with 116 killed in hostile incidents, up from 113 in the prior seven weeks.

As the focus has intensified on Baghdad, deaths have fallen in some outlying areas — even in Anbar Province, the heart of the Sunni rebellion where American marines have long faced intense violence. In the seven weeks after the start of the Baghdad operation, 31 Americans were killed in Anbar, down from 46 in the seven weeks beforehand.

While it is difficult to point to any one reason, in recent months Anbar has been at the center of a fissure in the insurgency between tribes who support the terrorist group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and tribes who reject it because it is seen as inviting foreign fighters.

Roadside bombs were by far the most common means of killing Americans. Deaths in Baghdad and Diyala from such explosions more than doubled. In Baghdad, 83 percent of troop deaths since the plan began have been caused by roadside bombs. In Diyala, all but one of the 15 soldiers who died in the seven-week period were killed by roadside bombs. Just four were killed by the bombs in the preceding seven weeks there.

Violence Against Civilians

The Iraqi government and the American military refuse to release overall civilian casualty numbers; both give numbers only for a few categories of deaths, making it difficult to get an overall picture. One of the last official reports on civilian casualties came in January from the United Nations, which, citing morgue and hospital statistics, said at least 34,452 Iraqis were killed last year, or an average of nearly 100 per day.

Over the past seven weeks, American commanders say that the security push has had some success so far in cutting down the number of sectarian execution-style killings — tracked by counting the number of bodies found with gunshot or knife wounds. Military officials say that such killings have dropped 26 percent nationwide and even more in Baghdad.

But other kinds of attacks, like car bombings, have kept the overall civilian death rate high, and in recent days there are anecdotal reports that sectarian executions may be on the rise again.

“We’ve not seen the overall same significant amount of decline in the overall number of casualties” as in execution killings, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, spokesman for the American military command, said in a news conference last week.

The American military believes that much of the drop in executions has come because of decreased activity by Shiite militias and death squads, especially the powerful Mahdi Army militia that claims allegiance to the cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

Many militia leaders have been detained in raids by the American military, according to the Iraqi government, and despite some major car bomb attacks on Shiite areas, the militias appear to have decided to refrain from carrying out revenge killings.

“The cycle of violence is not as predictable,” a senior American military official said. “Iraqi people are showing restraint, and the ability of death squads to retaliate is being circumscribed.”

However, it appears that not all Shiite cells, Mahdi Army or otherwise, are so patient. American soldiers in sections of western Baghdad, as well as Sunni Arabs living there and in Sunni enclaves south of Baghdad in Babil Province, are reporting that sectarian killings and threats against Sunni Arab families have begun to rise again, after a brief hiatus at the start of the security plan.

“There’s been spray paint on walls: ‘Get out or you’ll pay with your blood,’ ” said Capt. Benjamin Morales, 28, commander of a company of the 82nd Airborne that oversees a Shiite-dominated section of western Baghdad. There were eight Sunni households in the area at the start of March; three had left by its end.

The Iraqi government has been encouraging displaced families to return to their abandoned homes and offering $200 as an incentive. The government said that 2,000 families had returned by mid-March, but there is no way to verify the numbers.

In Fadhil, a Sunni enclave in eastern Baghdad surrounded by Shiite neighborhoods, residents say Shiite militias have been attacking with mortar shells and sniper fire. They accuse the Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces of taking part, which Iraqi military officials deny.

“The situation was quiet when the militias left the country, but when they came back, the tension returned,” said Wamid Salah Hameed, a community leader in Fadhil. “The military is attacking us and firing at the neighborhood randomly. There is a sectarian feeling among the soldiers in the army.”

Meanwhile, Shiite militias have burned shops in a Sunni enclave of Babil Province, and Sunni militias burned Sunni and Shiite homes in Diyala last month.

Sunni militias have been active in Baghdad, too. The number of bodies of their presumed victims that turn up, tortured and shot, appears to have declined, but not halted, in recent weeks. In the past three weeks in some mostly Sunni neighborhoods of western Baghdad, Shiites bringing supplies to displaced families — even displaced Sunni families — have been kidnapped and killed, their bodies left in corner lots.

“We used to see sometimes eight bodies a day,” said Sgt. Michael Brosch, of the First Battalion, Fifth Cavalry. “Sometimes they were all beheaded. Then right at the beginning of the security plan, we didn’t see any. Now we’re seeing them again.”

At the same time, deaths and injuries nationwide from vehicle bombs, which are typically associated with Sunni insurgents, particularly Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, have continued at a rapid pace.

January and February were particularly bad months for car bombing deaths; nearly 1,100 were killed in February alone. That number dropped to 783 in March, still high compared with months earlier in the war, according to an American military official. But the overall number of bombings actually increased: there were 108 car bombs that either detonated or were disarmed in March, a record for the war.

Outside of Baghdad, several huge bombings have been responsible for many of the deaths. The worst, last month in Tal Afar, killed 152.

In Anbar, at least six bombings involved a terrifying new weapon: truck bombs that spread chlorine gas, burning victims’ lungs and skin. The deadliest of those attacks, in Ramadi on Friday, killed at least 30 people.

A Fractured Government

Most American and Iraqi officials say that the key to Iraq’s security is a political agreement that gives Sunni Arabs more power in the government. But the near-term prognosis for that looks grim, as the calm necessary to negotiate such a deal remains elusive.

Some Shiite leaders have publicly said they are prepared to reconcile with the minority Sunnis, who generally prospered under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government. But the Shiites are still loath to give Sunnis any additional power and risk returning to the oppressed status they held for centuries.

Meanwhile, the Kurds in the north are pushing policies that will maximize the powers of their autonomous region, including trying to get control of the ethnically mixed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The Sunni Arabs seek several changes in the government’s structure. They want Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite, to make good on his promise to replace ineffective or corrupt ministers. Mr. Maliki promised the shake-up months ago, but the proposal now appears moribund.

The Sunni Arabs also want the Constitution amended to bring power back to Baghdad and reduce the chance that areas in the oil-rich, Shiite-dominated south will follow the model of Kurdistan and create an autonomous state.

In addition, the Sunni Arabs continue to push for a rollback of purges of Sunni Arabs from government that began after the Shiites came to power in national elections.

But to stop the violence, the ruling Shiites must deal with Sunnis outside the government, in the factionalized insurgency, who can offer few guarantees on any promises to stop bombings against Shiites.

“We talk to people who say they represent the insurgents and they all say the same thing: ‘We oppose the occupation, but we don’t believe in killing civilians, in killing women and children,’ ” a senior adviser to Mr. Maliki said. “But our people are dying in bombs every day. Who is killing them?”

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20070409/ZNYT03/704090362/1001/TL23


Last edited by Fintan on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:30 am; edited 3 times in total
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Wu Li



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Posts: 573

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I wish here is your own analysis Fintan.
What do you think from this that you have posted?
Hmmmmm? Cool

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Julian



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fintan:
Quote:
Sooooo, taking the undeclared real size of the surge into account,
and adding in the mercenaries, then the US in reality has
easily a presence of from about 300,000 to 350,000 in Iraq.

In other words, a Third of a Million.


Soooooo, what's your point? Is this pure distraction from the question of what the US is doing in Iraq at all? We already know there's a large American/British presence in Iraq. What does the above add to the debate? I'm sure you must have had a reason for posting this. What is your analysis of the numbers you quote?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SOOOOOO Julian, what's your point? You crack me up. Nice Avatar.
-----------------------------------

Obviously, the USG said we're adding 20,000 or so to try to 'stabilize' Iraq. My ass.

for edification:
070306 Imperial Death Squads and the Shredding of Iraqi National Life
http://takingaimradio.com/mp3/takingaim070306.mp3

Mainstream news of the moves to support America's new allies in the War on Terror -- Al-Qaeda!
He cites a lot of mainstream stuff. This is only a couple weeks old. (Maybe it's even been posted here before but I just listened to it while out walking.)
Scott Ritter wrote a piece on the history of Sunni, Shia, Wahabbi, Saudi, etc. It was to explain the historical divisions .. and with it, the inevitable strife .. which Congress and Americans and the White House just don't understand.
This talk above blows away that otherwise interesting historical analysis. Ralph says the Sunni and Shia have made pacts to get along. It's the hired death squads from inside the Ministry of Interior that are doing all the murder. Much reporting and testimony, not just one man's opinion.


070320 A Study in Disinformation: The Fake Confession
of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

http://takingaimradio.com/mp3/takingaim070320.mp3

um ... like .. he's already been declared dead in 2002? and 2003?

if you really got time:
031104 Edwin Wilson and the Merchants of Death
http://takingaimradio.com/mp3/takingaim031104.mp3
Spy vs. Spy ... more like Narco-Spy murders Narco-Spy
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Julian



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dilbert:
Quote:
070306 Imperial Death Squads and the Shredding of Iraqi National Life
http://takingaimradio.com/mp3/takingaim070306.mp3

Mainstream news of the moves to support America's new allies in the War on Terror -- Al-Qaeda!
He cites a lot of mainstream stuff. This is only a couple weeks old. (Maybe it's even been posted here before but I just listened to it while out walking.)
Scott Ritter wrote a piece on the history of Sunni, Shia, Wahabbi, Saudi, etc. It was to explain the historical divisions .. and with it, the inevitable strife .. which Congress and Americans and the White House just don't understand.
This talk above blows away that otherwise interesting historical analysis. Ralph says the Sunni and Shia have made pacts to get along. It's the hired death squads from inside the Ministry of Interior that are doing all the murder. Much reporting and testimony, not just one man's opinion.


Perhaps Americans are more badly informed than people in Britain. I listened to the above talk and realised you must think I am coming from a position of ignorance. None of this is news to me. I wasn't under the impression that the American invasion of Iraq was some kind of benevolent humanitarian mission. We do have Robert Fisk reporting on this subject in great detail. See today's headline story in the Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article2439530.ece

I would have thought most people on this Forum already understand the manipulation of numbers in war 'games'. I wondered if I had missed some important point. Obviously not.

Glad you like my avatar Dilbert. Yesterday I was thinking of changing it, but I'll hang on to it for now. Mine's a self portrait. Is yours?

I'll stick to reading Fisk from now on. Only so much information you can take in.
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Fintan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject: Bombed Out Baghdad Bridge Reply with quote

Looks like this was no suicide bomber,
but likely a controlled demolition by means
of explosive charges.


Quote:
Bomb on Baghdad bridge kills 8, cars in river

Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:17am ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A truck bomb killed up to eight people on a major bridge in northern Baghdad on Thursday, destroying most of the steel structure and sending several cars plunging into the River Tigris below, police said.

Two main sections of the Sarafiya bridge, a main artery linking east and west Baghdad, collapsed into the river. One army officer on the scene said explosive charges might have also been used to bring down a bridge that local residents said was built by the British in the early 1900s.

The blast occurred just before the morning rush hour, sending a cloud of thick smoke into the air.

U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a security crackdown in the capital two months ago that has reduced death squad killings, but car and truck bombs remain a problem.

Police put the death toll from the bombing at between five and eight. They said up to 22 people were wounded.

Link













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Fintan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject: End Game Reply with quote

End Game

Quote:
Iraqis Finally Unite -- Against the U.S.

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig. Posted April 11, 2007.

For the fourth anniversary of Saddam's overthrow, Iraqis held an anti-American protest and the White House's "latest news" featured their annual Easter egg hunt.

You have to hand it to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., for having the chutzpah to cite the fiercely anti-American rally that dominated the anniversary of Iraq's fourth year of U.S. occupation as evidence that the troop "surge" is working. As opposed to Lieberman, who continues to act as Bush's overeager lap dog, his masters in the White House knew better than to celebrate at this depressing moment.

After a weekend in which 10 U.S. soldiers were killed -- four more were killed on Monday, bringing the total to 45 already in April -- and the citizens of once bustling Baghdad cowered in their homes under a U.S.-imposed round-the-clock curfew, President Bush had the good sense for once to say not a word about the glorious "liberation" of Iraq.

Instead, as Dana Milbank noted in The Washington Post, the president never mentioned Iraq in a 24-minute speech he gave on the happier subject of illegal immigration, nor did any of his top aides touch on the topic. The White House website ignored Iraq entirely under the heading "LATEST NEWS," instead featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog's romp at the South Lawn's annual Easter egg hunt.

Meanwhile, back in liberated Iraq, the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's overthrow was marked by only one sign of public response: In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, hundreds of thousands gathered to burn American flags and otherwise denounce the United States. "Yes! Yes! Iraq. No! No! America," chanted demonstrators organized by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, reported the BBC. "We were liberated from Saddam. Now we need to be liberated again. Stop the suffering. Americans leave now."

What part of "leave now" doesn't Lieberman get? Speaking of the rally called by Sadr to blast the Americans as Iraq's "archenemy" and to demand "that the occupiers withdraw from our land," Lieberman surreally sought to find a silver lining of support for U.S. policy: "[Sadr] is not calling for a resurgence of sectarian conflict. He's striking a nationalist chord. He's acknowledging that the surge is working," he said.

Ugh. What tortured logic. Ponder that sentence for the sheer mendacity of its optimism, which conveniently ignores the fact that the nationalist chord is a stridently anti-American one. Yes, there were Sunni clerics in the Najaf march and Sadr's followers heeded his call to wrap themselves, literally, in the Iraqi flag while shunning sectarian slogans -- but what united them was the demand to end the U.S. occupation, which Lieberman so fervently supports.

So apparently the surge is working ... to unite all Iraqis against us. As Hazim al-Araji, one of Sadr's top Baghdad representatives, described the by-all-accounts massive rally: "There are people here from all different parties and sects. We are all carrying the national flag, which is a symbol of unity. And we are all united in calling for the withdrawal of the Americans."

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/50459/


Quote:
Shia demand withdrawal of foreign troops

10 April 2007 08:27

Wrapped in the Iraqi flag and chanting anti-American slogans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shia snaked into the holy city of Najaf on Monday for a protest rally to mark the fourth anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein and to demand the ejection from Iraq of United States and British troops.

The huge procession of mainly men and young boys had braved the roads from Baghdad -- and towns across southern Iraq -- to march from the holy city of Kufa to Najaf, one of Shia Islam's most sacred sites. Flanked by hundreds of Iraqi police, they shouted "Yes! Yes! Iraq. No! No! America" amid a sea of banners and Iraqi flags. "We were liberated from Saddam. Now we need to be liberated again," read one placard. "Stop the suffering, Americans leave now," demanded another.

The march was a show of strength by the powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who had called for a peaceful mass protest to express opposition to "Iraq's occupiers". Ali Hussein, a member of Sadr's al-Mehdi militia from Baghdad, said that about 1-million to 1,5-million supporters of al-Sadr had taken part, though police estimates gave a figure of less than a million.

"The demonstration was peaceful and we oppose the occupation because the only solution for Iraq and Baghdad is withdrawal of the Americans," said Hussein as he stood outside the golden-domed Shrine of Imam Ali.

Al-Sadr has not been seen for months and is widely believed to have fled to Iran to avoid the US-Iraqi security crackdown, which officially began on February 14. The fiery young cleric had won praise from Iraqi leaders for ordering his Mehdi militia to lie low during the operations. But in his absence there were reports that both his militia and his political wing in Parliament were fragmenting.

This week Mehdi fighters engaged in fierce clashes with US and Iraqi troops in the southern city of Diwaniyah. In an apparent bid to shore up his movement, al-Sadr broke his silence two weeks ago with a series of sharp anti-American proclamations, culminating in a statement on Sunday that urged his fighters to intensify their struggle to oust American forces, and for Iraq's army and police to join the effort to defeat the "arch enemy".

Despite the hopes of many of his supporters, al-Sadr failed to appear again on Monday. But his opponents both in Iraq and Washington were left in no doubt of the cleric's continued grass roots support among young Iraqi Shia.

Senior aides to al-Sadr pointed to a number of Sunni clerics at the head of Tuesday's parade as evidence that the march was "national and not sectarian".

Orders had gone out for marchers to avoid carrying pictures or flags that could inflame religious passions.

Hazim al-Araji, al-Sadr's representative in the Baghdad district of Khadimiya, said: "There are people here from all different parties and sects. We are all carrying the national flag, which is a symbol of unity. And we are all united in calling for the withdrawal of the Americans."

Despite the hostile sentiment of protest, US commanders in Iraq appeared relaxed. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Boylan, a US military spokesperson, said the demonstration had been well-organised and peaceful. "This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech, they didn't have that under the former regime," he said. "This is progress, there's no two ways about it."

Meanwhile, in Baghdad and the rest of Iraq there were no celebrations to mark four years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Iraq's government had dithered over whether to declare the day a national holiday, first decreeing it to be a normal working day, then declaring it a holiday. But in the capital it slapped a city-wide ban on vehicles, meaning most residents stayed indoors, many watching the events from Najaf on television.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=304236&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__international_news/


Quote:
Iraq: Now the South Erupts

By Ali Al-Fadhily, IPS News. Posted April 11, 2007.

The eruption of demonstrations in the south of Iraq this week could rob the occupation forces of what was considered a critical bastion of support.

The southern areas of Iraq have long been said to be secure, and people there peaceful towards the occupation forces. Iraqis living in the south were also believed to be cooperative with the occupation to the extent that they supported administrative steps taken by successive Iraqi governments.

The majority of the population of the south are Shia Muslims, and Iraq has had Shia- dominated governments under the occupation.

But demonstrations against the occupation and the United States by hundreds of thousands of angry Shias in Najaf, Kut and other cities across the south Apr. 9 mark a sharp break from a policy of cooperation. Protesters demanded an end to the U.S.-led occupation, burnt U.S. flags and chanted "Death to America!"

Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Mayahi, a police commander in Najaf, told reporters that at least half a million people joined the demonstration there.

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, told reporters, "We say that we're here to support democracy. We say that free speech and freedom of assembly are part of that. While we don't necessarily agree with the message, we agree with their right to say it."

Clashes after the demonstration left at least one U.S. soldier dead and another wounded in Diwaniyah, 180 km south of Baghdad.

"We have been patient and we have sacrificed a lot thinking the situation would be better one day soon," Hussein Ali, a teacher from Diwaniyah told IPS. "The result we see now is that we were dragged into a swamp of hatred between brothers, and that all the bloodshed was for the sake of war leaders to get more power and fortune."

Fighting is continuing in Diwaniyah between the occupation forces and the Mehdi Army led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Additional U.S. and Iraqi troops have been brought into the city to make arrests and carry out door-to-door raids in search of illegal weapons and wanted militiamen.

Muqtada al-Sadr, quiet for a considerable period after clashing with U.S. troops early on in the occupation period, publicly called on his militia to attack occupation troops.

So far this month, five occupation troops have been killed every day on average, according to U.S. Department of Defence figures.

The new Shia armed uprising, which appears to be in its early days, is a further blow to occupation forces that are already stretched thin.

"Four years of patience and what do we get?" Ali Hashim, a merchant from the southern city Basra told IPS. "We got nothing but the loss of our country to those who spoke a lot but did nothing. The United States failed us and sold us cheap to those who would have no mercy on us."

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/50436/


Quote:
Coming to a Dead End in Iraq

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted April 10, 2007.

When Saddam was ousted from power, one corrupt state was replaced with another. In that sense, we lost the war before it had begun.

A majority of Americans now favor ending the four-year-old occupation of Iraq. They're not "choosing defeat," as Dick Cheney and other Bushist dead-enders contend; defeat in Iraq has been thrust upon us by an Iraqi population that has finally lost whatever measure of patience they once had with a bumbling and often brutal imperial power. It's now a matter of time before our strategic class -- infused as it is with a profound sense of American exceptionalism -- is capable of catching up with that reality.

That we've lost the battle for Iraq was clear in Najaf this past weekend, as hundreds of thousands of Shia took to the streets to protest the American occupation. Nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called America "the great evil" and urged his followers to unite in opposition to the U.S. presence. The protests continued into Monday; the Washington Post reported tens of thousands again marched peacefully on the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster, shouting: "No, no to the occupier. Yes, yes, to Iraq." Demonstrators "burned and ripped apart American flags."

The sentiment they expressed was nothing new; for two years, poll after poll has shown that large majorities of Iraqis of all ethnicities and sects want the U.S. to set a timeline for withdrawal. Most think that if the Iraqi government asked the Americans to leave, they wouldn't honor the request (which no doubt accounts for the fact that six in ten support attacks on U.S. troops). A majority of Shias in Baghdad expect the security situation to deteriorate when the Americans leave, but they still want U.S. troops out of their country -- that's how thoroughly Iraqis' "hearts and minds" have been lost.

A week before the demonstrations, there was another development that got less attention but was just as significant. Iraq's most senior and revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, rejected an Iraqi government proposal to reverse the "de-Baathification" process that left hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis unemployed and disempowered and with nowhere to turn but toward the insurgency. The move to bring large numbers of Sunnis into the government was seen as a last grasp at national reconciliation.

We've lost in Iraq; the political process is at a dead end. Al-Sadr is lost, and he was our bulwark against the dominance of pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi government; al Sistani is lost, and he was our bulwark against al Sadr's nationalism; the Sunnis were lost to us long ago. The only horse we have in the race is the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki -- a beleaguered nag with little credibility among the Iraqi masses.

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/50397/
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BigErn



Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 90
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Call me crazy I know...but I don't quite buy the "Car bomb" theory in a LOT of these cases. I think my suspicions go back to the killing of the Syrian ex-prime minister. If you recall this was the damage caused by such a "bomb"

Now, what are the chances that and air strike cant be that accurate? After all in the first Gulf War they loved showing how accurate their missile tech was? And would anyone hear this thing incoming before the big explosion anyway? ( if anyone knows the answer to hearing an incoming missile do tell )

Confused
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devabarry



Joined: 03 Jul 2006
Posts: 132
Location: Zionosphere

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps we are witnessing the controlled demolition of the coalition occupation? Not to diverge too far from the bridge tragedy (staged or not), but related to the 'controlled demolition' notion is the latest email broadcast from MoveOn.org, whose members have selected Barak Obama as the leading 'out of Iraq' candidate, followed closely by Senator Edwards. Where's Hillary? In 5th place out of the seven announced candidates! (she placed 6th in a separate poll of members who viewed the 'town hall meeting', in which Edwards placed 1st and Bill Richardson 2nd). Okay, perhaps the alternate viewpoint is this in itself is a controlled demolition of overtly antiwar candidates, with Hillary prepped to rise to the occasion of a stalwart pro-defense/anti-terrorism candidate yada yada when the time is right. Or, perhaps the Dems aren't to be the successors after all, and this is a group controlled demolition effort...frankly, it's all too much for me to get my head around at this early stage Sad.

Here's the text from the Move On message:

Quote:
Dear MoveOn member,

The votes are in, and Barack Obama is MoveOn members' top choice to lead the country out of Iraq, with John Edwards a close second (see full results below).

At the Virtual Town Hall meeting Obama said, "The hard truth is there's no military solution...It's time to end this war." Edwards declared, "Congress...must not write George Bush another blank check without a timeline for withdrawal. Period."

Ensuring that Obama or Edwards—or another progressive—wins the presidency will be a huge fight, and we have to start today: We're launching Victory 2008, an ambitious drive to win the White House. We'll build strength in key neighborhoods, create cutting-edge tools for volunteers, and design the most sophisticated voter turnout effort progressives have ever run.

We've done the math and we can only launch this if we know we'll have the resources to keep it going through 2008. So today we're asking folks to make a monthly contribution. Can you chip in $15 a month for Victory 2008? It's easy—we bill your credit card each month, and you can cancel any time. Click here:

https://pol.moveon.org/donate/victory2008.html?id=10189-3769279-B.fao5&t=4

Why start now? With the candidates focused on each other for the next 10 months, we need to lay the groundwork for victory against the Republicans. Starting early will give us a critical leg up by allowing us to:

Advance progressive issues in the presidential primaries;
Train volunteers to counter Republicans' messages through local media;
Find neighborhood leaders to form the backbone of a massive voter turnout effort;
Create new high-tech tools to connect volunteers directly with swing voters and people who might not vote without a reminder;
Show targeted TV advertisements in swing districts;
Run the most advanced progressive voter turnout and persuasion program ever.
Now, here are the full results from the Virtual Town Hall vote (remember, this does not imply a MoveOn endorsement):

Sen. Barack Obama 28% www.BarackObama.com
Sen. John Edwards 25% www.JohnEdwards.com
Rep. Dennis Kucinich 17% www.Kucinich.us
Gov. Bill Richardson 12% www.RichardsonForPresident.com
Sen. Hillary Clinton 11% www.HillaryClinton.com
Sen. Joe Biden 6% www.JoeBiden.com
Sen. Chris Dodd 1% www.ChrisDodd.com

These candidates' views differed in quite a few areas, but they all rejected President Bush's plan and agreed that it's time to start bringing the troops home. Imagine what it would mean to have an anti-war candidate in the White House. Think about it.

We have a good shot but it won't be easy. Republicans have already begun their attacks and we can't give them any advantage—we need to get started organizing on the ground today and not let up. Will you support our Victory 2008 plan with $15 a month from today until the election so we have the resources to win? Please give now:

https://pol.moveon.org/donate/victory2008.html?id=10189-3769279-B.fao5&t=6

It was true in 2006 and it's true again this year: Together, we have what it takes to win.

Thanks for all you do.

–Adam, Justin, Carrie, Anna, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Thursday, April 12th, 2007

P.S. MoveOn members who watched the Town Hall at one of the parties voted differently from those who did not. Here are how the folks who attended the event ranked their choices:

Sen. John Edwards
25%
Gov. Bill Richardson
21%
Sen. Barack Obama 19%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
15%
Sen. Joe Biden
10%
Sen. Hillary Clinton
7%
Sen. Chris Dodd
4%

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Wu Li



Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 573

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BigErn wrote:
Call me crazy I know...but I don't quite buy the "Car bomb" theory in a LOT of these cases. I think my suspicions go back to the killing of the Syrian ex-prime minister. If you recall this was the damage caused by such a "bomb"

Now, what are the chances that and air strike cant be that accurate? After all in the first Gulf War they loved showing how accurate their missile tech was? And would anyone hear this thing incoming before the big explosion anyway? ( if anyone knows the answer to hearing an incoming missile do tell )

Confused


Yes Sir,
And that bridge bombing is no doubt planted charges.
Come on now with doing that much destruction to a bridge of that size even with a big truck bomb. The lack of concentration of the blast would not be enough to take that structure down and perfectly at all it's prefab points as well.

So the destruction and humiliation of the western allies is surely on it's way HUH?
Or Is this one step towards an all out assault on the middle east as a whole with key puppets in place such as the Saudi's(who are hurting now) and a few other Arab nations of more western ideal.
I have kind of let myself go when dealing with the day to day analysis.
To be sure either Iraq will be split up into three states or we will see a whole new Islamic extremistist regeme take hold.
But I am sure we will probably hold on tight to any oil in the North.
maybe side with the Kurds for their own state? maybe not since I am sure Turkey and Armenia will use this to actually come together on at least one issue.

One thing I do know for a fact is that the OIl and Gas pipelines are still being built across the Caucus region. Probably to the Chagrin of the Russians although I know why we as really pissed at the Iranians.

It reminded me of something I read a while ago:
http://www.mideasti.org/articles/doc514.html
There is actually much more on this subject, I wish I may find it now but my memory fails me.

There is actually alot of great info on this site.
I also like to read a lot of Turkish stuff also for a different take on things.
Kinda diversify all my info
http://www.turkishweekly.net/
or
http://www.turkishnews.net/content/archivecategory/2007/03/1/

You may already do this along with other countries news but thought I'd give another perspective.
Lot's of juicy Eu stuff as well that is not found even in the western underground media. Kinda different perspectives of lies against one another is the best way to reveal the game.
Trully I just wish for the whole middle east thing to come to a head because it has taken up way to much time in the Human story.
Mad

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bornfree



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 509

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps we are witnessing the controlled demolition of the coalition occupation?


The only G8 surge designed to work is the one in which we are being surged into the arms of the left and then into the arms of the Social Democrats.

When we seek such G8 agenda scripts such as Freedom, Liberty and Democracy, we're like fish in a barrel.

The only item never on the agenda is personal Sovereignty. There's no way to spin it so its off the table.

PS

Hell, the Sovereignty of the Nation-State is on the chopping block !
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Fintan
Site Admin


Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 8211

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject: Spectacular Reply with quote

I know I'm supposed to be a full-on conspiracy theorist, but I can't
see anybody behind the bridge bombing except the Iraqi resistance.

Especially as it was teamed with the bombing of the Iraqi parliament
on the same morning. That what they call a 'spectacular' in the so-called
terrorism business. A pair of events designed to show that the resistance
has the muscle to hit hard against major targets.

As to the Hillary and Obama thing, I think the establishment is happy
to have Obama out there as the Out of Iraq voice. After all they need
somebody running with that ball, while Hilly sits back being 'moderate'.
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