Sunday, June 15, 2003

Iraq:

  1. The usual:

    • 5,000 to 10,000 civilians were killed in the attack on Iraq (here is an article on the Iraq Body Count site). The Associated Press, in an incomplete survey, determined that at least 3,240 civilians died in the attack on Iraq. A spokesman for the U. S. Defense Department, Lieutenant Colonel James Cassella, claimed that under international law the United States was not liable to pay compensation for "injuries or damage occurring during lawful combat operations," an interesting theoretical bit of law which obviously doesn't apply to this completely illegal attack. The American military attitude is to downplay the amount of casualties and to claim that they have not kept track. When over 50 died in an American missile attack on a market in Baghdad, the Pentagon said it was conducting an investigation. That was a lie - there was no investigation. Civilians are simply objects standing between the United States and the oil.

    • Iraqi hospitals are in desperate need of drugs, medical equipment, electricity, and clean water. Dr. Janan Ghalib Hassan, the doctor in charge of the children's cancer ward at the Mother and Child Hospital in Basra said:

      "All the educated people of Iraq know that the war wasn't for helping the people, but for taking the oil."

      Why don't the educated people of the United States know this?

    • Robert Fisk, besides commenting on the new American censorship in Iraq (all 'anti-American' activities have now been banned by Bremer of Baghdad), reports:

      "While we're still on the subject of Baghdad airport, it's important to note that American forces at the facility are now coming under attack every night - I repeat, every night - from small arms fire. So are American military planes flying into the airbase. Some US aircrews have now adopted the old Vietnam tactic of corkscrewing tightly down on to the runways instead of risking sniper fire during a conventional final approach."


    • The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported on the American attack on the Palestine Hotel which killed two journalists and wounded three others (see also here and here). While damning enough on the Americans, it does not state what appears to me to be obvious - the Americans intentionally targeted the hotel because there were journalists there.

    • Children continue to die as a result of cluster bombs.

    • In the north, Arabs are still being displaced from their land by Kurds who claim to have been the original owners before Saddam forced them out, claims which may be true but are being enforced without any kind of judicial process and are leaving the displaced people homeless.

    • The looting of nuclear isotopes at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex continues!!! Trudy Rubin, in an article entitled "Looting of Iraqi nuclear facility indicts U.S. goals", writes:

      "The Bush administration claimed, contrary to reports by U.N. weapons inspectors, that Saddam still had an active nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration claimed that the danger of Iraq's handing off nuclear materiel to terrorists was a key reason for regime change.

      The administration knew full well what was stored at Tuwaitha. So how is it possible that the U.S. military failed to secure the nuclear facility until weeks after the war started? This left looters free to ransack the barrels, dump their contents, and sell them to villagers for storage.

      How is it possible that, according to Iraqi nuclear scientists, looters are still stealing radioactive isotopes?

      The Tuwaitha story makes a mockery of the administration's vaunted concern with weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. military hastened to secure the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad from looters. But Iraq's main nuclear facility was apparently not important enough to get similar protection."

      Particularly given the lies of the Bush Administration about the danger of Iraq's nuclear weapons program, and in the light of the crude forgery of the Niger documents which were used when the Administration knew them to be forgeries, the nonchalance of the occupying Americans to a real nuclear danger is very telling.

    • The Baghdad lawlessness continues. N.B. Mammo, an eye surgeon, said:

      "Why aren't the telephones working? Why the delay in essential services? Why aren't buildings that were looted brought back to a functioning level? The US is far too competent to have not anticipated these things. When the lights go out in New York, people loot."

      The Americans did a huge amount of planning in something called the 'Future of Iraq Project', and now appear to have forgotten everything they had planned to do.

    • An Iraqi prisoner of war in American custody has been found dead.

    • The Americans continue to hold in jail three Palestinians who were accredited as diplomats under Saddam Hussein's regime.

    • Palestinians continue to be evicted from their homes in Baghdad, and 250 families now live in tents at the Haifa Sports Club, a Palestinian cultural center.

    • Radical clerics continue to force women to wear a veil.



  2. In a new development, the Americans are currently on a military operation which has been called an anti-guerilla sweep, but is in actuality the first pure Vietnam-war-style search-and-destroy missions. Iraqis claim that the operation was excessive, with civilians brutalized (or here), claims which the Americans deny but are quite easy to believe. Local residents are extremely angry with the ferocity of the American attack.

  3. Here is a good summary of what the Americans have to do in Baghdad immediately, before summer temperatures reach up to 140º F, in order to prevent a disaster. Any bets on how well they'll do?

  4. Aid agencies are refusing to cooperate with the Pentagon and its heavy-handed rule in Iraq, fearing a loss of reputation and that their workers would be put at risk.

  5. At Al Hir, near Baghdad, Americans responding to an attack appear to have killed five innocent civilians. The Americans deny they killed civilians, but villagers claim American military officials apologized for the mistake. Noufa Hamoud, 60, an aunt of three of the dead, said, speaking of George Bush:

    "I will not forgive him. They were so young, they had children, they had never committed any crime. He has leveled our family."



As the resistance grows, the Americans are sinking into a quagmire. 'Coalition' members are proving to be remarkably unhelpful in volunteering troops to spell the Americans ('You broke it, you pay for it' seems to be the theme). The sabotage of the oil facilities is beginning. And it's starting to get hot!

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