Saturday, March 31, 2007

 

An Excuse For War?

Ahmadinejad rips U.K. for not following ‘legal, logical way’ to resolve issue



NBC VIDEO
Bush demands release of British Marines
March 31: President Bush joined America's strongest ally today in demanding the release of 15 British Marines and sailors held in Iran. NBC’s John Yang reports from the White House.

Nightly News





Slide show
Iran-Iraq War
Iran’s perilous path in pictures
A click-through history of modern Iran and its love-hate relationship with the United States




INTERACTIVE
Iran's nuclear network
An interactive look at Iran’s nuclear facilities




Slide show
An Iranian girl has her face painted like the Iranian flag during a demonstration in Tehran
Unseen Iran
27 years after the revolution, conservatives rule Iran. But Western culture still seeps in. Click to see images.



MSNBC News Services
Updated: 6:47 p.m. CT March 31, 2007

TEHRAN, Iran - President Bush said Saturday that Iran's detention of 15 British sailors was "inexcusable" and that Tehran must release them immediately.

"The British hostage issue is serious because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. It's inexcusable behavior. I strongly support the Blair government's attempts to resolve this peacefully," he said, referring to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Meanwhile, Iran’s president said on Saturday the British government was not following “the legal and logical way” of resolving the dispute over the British naval personnel detained last week, state radio said.

“After the arrest of these people, the British government, instead of apologizing and expressing regret, over the action taken, started to claim that we are in their debt and shouted in different international councils,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the state radio report. “But this is not the legal and logical way for this issue.”

Earlier, Britain said it was concerned at Iranian “saber-rattling” about possibly putting captured British naval personnel on trial and for the first time voiced regret the incident had occurred.

Iran’s ambassador to Moscow said the 15 Britons captured eight days ago could face punishment if found guilty of illegally entering the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters.

Britain insists the sailors were seized in Iraqi waters and Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said she was worried by such talk.

“Obviously, I am concerned. It is not the first person to have made saber-rattling noises,” she told reporters after a European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Germany.

“The message I want to send is I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen. What we want is a way out of it.”



FREE VIDEO
Any end in sight?
March 31: MSNBC's Contessa Brewer talks with retired Col. Jack Jacobs on options for ending the standoff.

MSNBC

Beckett said Britain had sent Iran a written reply to its diplomatic note on the detention of the sailors and had so far received no response.

Iran seized the sailors and marines in the northern Gulf on March 23 when they were on a U.N.-backed mission searching for smugglers. Tehran says they strayed into Iranian waters but Britain insists they were well in Iraqi territory.

The crisis, at a time of heightened Middle East tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, has helped push oil prices to six-month highs over concerns an escalation might cut oil exports from the region.

More confusion
There were more confusing signals about Iran’s intentions.

Iran’s Moscow ambassador, Gholamreza Ansari, said in an interview broadcast by Vesti-24 television on Friday, according to a Reuters translation from the original Farsi: “If there is no guilt they will be freed but the legal process is going on and has to be completed and if they are found guilty they will face the punishment.”

It was not clear on what authority he was speaking and IRNA said on Saturday Ansari had denied making the comments.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Sunday that Iran was considering charging the sailors with illegally entering its waters.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry delivered a letter to Britain’s embassy in Tehran on Thursday, the first written communication between the two capitals since the crisis began.

The IRNA news agency said the Iranian message asked for “necessary guarantees that violations against Iranian waters would not be repeated.”

Beckett said: “We have made our response and we are now beginning to discuss. As you may know it’s a holiday period in Iran and it’s perhaps not too helpful.”

The Iranian government is largely shut down for the two-week Nowruz holiday, a pre-Islamic Persian new year, which began on March 21 and ends next Tuesday.

‘Corruption nest of the British old devil’
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was mandated on Friday by the 27-nation bloc’s foreign ministers to seek the Britons’ immediate release. He said he had not yet been able to speak to Iranian leaders but his staff had made first contacts.

Student members of the Basij religious militia from across Iran issued a statement on Saturday demanding the British embassy in Tehran be closed down, calling it the “corruption nest of the British old devil,” IRNA said.

They also invited students to protest outside the embassy on Sunday “to protest the violation of Iranian waters by British soldiers and the Security Council’s latest statement,” the student news agency ISNA said.

Iran displayed three of the detained Britons on television on Friday and released a letter from one saying she was being held because of “oppressive” British and U.S. behavior in Iraq.

British forces have been deployed in southern Iraq since joining the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. Britain and the United States accuse Iran of allowing sophisticated weapons used to target their forces to be brought into Iraq.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17883991
_______________________________

Um-hmmm, Mr. President. And what would OUR government do if Islamic military or insurgents were caught in OUR international waters in military-type ships?

What did the Russkies do when they shot down our spy plane with pilot Gary Powers over Russian territory? And what tired old excuse did we give about our spy plane? It "strayed". It was an innocent, civilian weather research aircraft on weather reconnaisance flight, the oxygen must have malfunctioned causing the pilot to lose consciousness and the autopilot accidentally carried the plane over Russian waters. Yeah, right! The Russkies didn't buy that either, especially when it was determined that Powers was NOT a weather research man.
For younger readers who may not know about Gary Powers and the U2 spy plane:

--"A high-altitude surveillance aircraft which first flew in 1955 and figured prominently in the Cold War. It is still invaluable to military commanders. The U-2 was developed as a CIA project to photograph Soviet military facilities. To do so, U-2s were based in great secrecy at Adana in Turkey - later renamed the Incirlik airbase - and operated out of Pakistan. That was until 1960, when a U-2 was shot down by a volley of Soviet surface-to-air missiles. The pilot, Gary Powers, ejected but was captured and held for two years on spying charges."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2001/military_fact
_files/support_U2s.stm

Ofcourse the US and British governments would never lie, and we know that our president is the soul of veracity.

And insofar as accusations of Iran "saber-rattling", isn't that a case of the kettle calling the pot black? The US has been rattling the attack-Iran saber for a long time. Does Bush and Blair imagine that the Iranis and the world is ignorant of the fact that they - in collaboration with Israel - have had the attack-Iran plot on the table for several years, just as they did with Iraq?

Just another excuse for another illegal war.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

 

Imperial Conquest - Manifest Destiny of the Wealthy Elite

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17418.htm
The Moral Imperative
By Charles Sullivan
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. --Andre Lorde 03/26/07 "ICH " -- -

It should surprise no one that the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq four years ago was based upon lies and fabricated evidence. Other wars instigated by the U.S. were begun in the same way, but we never seem to learn the lessons that history could teach us. The purpose of the U.S. invasion was not to free the Iraqi people or to spread democracy (when has the government ever done that?); it was to privatize the natural wealth of the region and to transfer ownership from the Iraqi pubic domain to the coffers of U.S. corporations. We have a long and shameful history of imperial invasions and occupations, and no experience building democracies.

The United States Middle East policy is also intended to suppress the enemies of radical Zionism and to extend Zionist control of the region, as well as to prop up the sagging U.S. dollar against the strengthening euro. It is the continuation of Manifest Destiny; the foolish but stubborn believe that Americans are superior to everyone else; what historian Howard Zinn refers to as American exceptionalism.

Manifest Destiny and the spread of capitalism go hand in hand. The growth of the military industrial complex requires imperial conquests and continuous expansion—an impossibility on a finite planet. We have yet to learn that wherever reality clashes with economic myth, reality prevails. The Pentagon, which is the iron fist of American capitalism, requires enemies in order to justify its vast expenditures to an unquestioning public, even if it has to invent them. In the past those enemies were the spread of communism and socialism, which were a threat only to Plutocratic rule, not to the American people themselves.

Now the danger is as cryptic and ubiquitous as state propaganda—the exaggerated threat of Islamic terrorism. I do not contend that there is no real threat of terrorism against U.S. citizens. I do, however, assert that those threats remain small and are a direct response to unjust U.S. foreign policy, including the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It is important to understand that the interest of the people and the government are always in conflict. The will of the people has never mattered to the ruling clique, as evidenced by the ongoing occupation of Iraq, despite overwhelming public opposition. What matters to America’s rulers is the acquisition of private wealth through war and expansionism.

The ruling elite have never hesitated to sacrifice the lives of our soldiers and workers for imperial ambitions, or to sanction the deliberate killing of innocent civilians in unknowable numbers. It is equally important to understand that imperial wars are a product of capitalism. A core element of capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth and political power in which a small cadre of owners can literally purchase political power. The very wealthy are never satiated. They never have enough. They have ambition. They are driven. They want more. They want it all. Their dream is to rule the world and privatize its wealth.

To aid them in their quest the language of patriotism and religion are evoked to stir the public emotions and to inspire hatred and contempt. The people will be told that we are under siege by the forces of evil, even as terror emanates from the nation’s capital like spokes radiating from the center of a wheel. America’s imperial wars will continue until capitalism is abolished and replaced by a more just and equitable system—a for use, rather than for profit economy. The architects of the invasion of Iraq would have us believe that U.S. Middle East policy is a complex matter that is best left to high minded experts. In fact, it is a fantastically simple matter that can easily be understood by anyone having a conscience, a sense of justice; a moral compass.

What it boils down to is simple right and wrong. A five year old child can understand that but imperial presidents and their cohorts in congress and industry cannot. A thing is wrong when its purpose is anything other than a desire for justice. We need not make things more complicated than that. A nation founded upon injustice will have a history of ethnic cleansing, genocide, chattel slavery, racism, inequality, class divisions, sexism, a suppressed work force, murder, and war—a history very much like our own. Indeed, our history.

Injustice breeds fierce resistance that can never lead to peace, as we are witnessing throughout the Middle East. The United States will fail in Iraq because the government’s policies are not driven by a desire for justice. Its purpose is not honorable or principled; therefore, it will ultimately fail. It is wrong to impose our will on other people. It is wrong to murder innocent civilians. It is wrong to steal their wealth. It is wrong to subjugate people and to exploit them as cheap labor. Eventually Israel will be expelled from Palestine for the same reasons—its cause (ethnic cleansing) is not only unjust—it is immoral and criminal.

Will governments ever learn that it is not the physically strongest who prevail, but the just? Were these not the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Henry Thoreau, and Gandhi? Justice and morality do not enter into the economic equation of capitalism. Neither does compassion, the rights of other people to exist unmolested in their own belief systems, or equality. There can be no peace without justice; no reckoning without a high regard for truth. Our past speaks volumes about the probable future. We need not look very far into the past to realize what the future holds.

A better future demands that we act justly in the present. Otherwise, the patterns of history will continue to repeat themselves in endless cycles of death and violence, disparity and suffering. We must stop putting our faith in politicians who serve the plutocracy by exploiting the people, and a system that from its inception was created to serve the wealthy and privileged. Our policies are a continuous negative feedback loop that has always produced consistent results. We cannot continue doing the same thing over and over and expect to get different outcomes. The fatal flaw is not in the administration of policy, it is in the policy itself and the corrupt system that created them; a system that is at its core unequal and unjust; and therefore, immoral.

A sound moral imperative should inform all that we do, and it must have at its core a burning desire to see justice done and to help others fulfill their promise. A strong moral imperative should be the basis of cooperation between individuals and nations. Without ethical moorings there can be no trust, no justice, and no peace. It is as simple as cause and effect. We truly do reap what we sow.

Charles Sullivan is an architectural millwright, photographer, and free-lance writer living in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at: csullivan@phreego.com.

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And the Big Lies Go On and On To Justify Imperial Conquests

"never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.": Joseph Goebbels : Nazi chief of propaganda
Propaganda: The similarities between G.W. Bush and Goebbels speeches
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4433.htm

Some people squall like wounded panthers at suggestions that Bush emulates Hitler and his pattern of domination of the German people during the WWII era, but the truth hurts -- it is TRUE. The Bush family has a long history of collaboration with Hitler and the Nazis and admiration for the ideology. WA

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Opening Salvo - US Show of Force in Persian Gulf

U.S. launches show of force in Persian Gulf

Aircraft carriers, warplanes feature in maneuvers off the coast of Iran

Ron Reeves / U.S. Navy via AP file
In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS John C.
Stennis steams into formation during an exercise last month off the
coast of Guam, before it was sent to the Persian Gulf.





Slide show
Iran-Iraq War
Iran’s perilous path in pictures
A click-through history of modern Iran and its love-hate relationship with the United States




INTERACTIVE
Iran's nuclear network
An interactive look at Iran’s nuclear facilities




Slide show
An Iranian girl has her face painted like the Iranian flag during a demonstration in Tehran
Unseen Iran
27 years after the revolution, conservatives rule Iran. But Western culture still seeps in. Click to see images.



Updated: 7:17 a.m. CT March 27, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.

The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.

The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran’s capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors — nor were they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the same waters.

He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.

Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.

Simultaneous French operations
A French naval strike group, led by the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, was operating simultaneously just outside the Gulf. But the French ships were supporting the NATO forces in Afghanistan and not taking part in the U.S. maneuvers, officials said.

Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines.

“What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it’s for regional stability and security,” Aandahl said. “These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there’s a destabilizing effect, it’s Iran’s behavior.”


MORE FROM MSNBC.COM

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US Will Attack Iran in April, Says Russian Experts

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17416.htm

Iran would be attacked at the beginning of April (Russian military experts)
By RIA Novosti
Translated from French by Babelfish 03/26/07 -- -
MOSCOW, March 19 - RIA Novosti.

The Russian military experts estimate that the planning of the American military attack against Iran passed the point of nonreturn on February 20, when the director of the IAEA, Mohammed El Baradei, recognized, in his report/ratio, the incapacity of the Agency "to confirm the peaceful character of the nuclear program of Iran".

According to the Russian weekly magazine Argoumenty nedeli, a military action will proceed during the first week of April, before Easter catholic and orthodoxe (this year they are celebrated the 8), when the "Western opinion" is on leave. It may be also that Iran is struck Friday 6, public holiday in the Moslem countries.

According to the American diagram, it will be a striking of only one day which will last 12 hours, 4 hours of morning to 16 hours of afternoon. The code name of the operation is to date "English Cock" (Bite). A score of Iranian installations should be touched. With their number, centrifugal machines of uranium enrichment, centers of studies and laboratories. But the first block of the nuclear thermal power station of Bouchehr will not be touched. On the other hand, the Americans will neutralize the DCA, will run several Iranian buildings of war in the Gulf and will destroy the key positions of command of the armed forces.

As many measurements which should remove in Teheran any capacity to counteract. Iran projected to run several tankers in the strait of Ormuz with an aim of cutting the provisioning of the international markets of oil and of striking with the Israel missile. The analysts affirm that strike them American will be launched from the island of Diego-Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, from where will take off of the bombers with long operating range B-52 with on their board cruise missiles; by the embarked aviation of the American aircraft carriers deployed in the Gulf and forming part of the 6th American Fleet in the Mediterranean; cruise missiles will be also drawn since the submarines concentrated in the Pacific and with broad from Arabia.

Result, the Iranian nuclear program will be rejected several years in back. In private talks, American Generals suppose that the times of deployment of American anti-missile defense in Europe can be postponed. Another event envisaged, the oil barrel could fly away to 75-80 dollars and this for one prolonged period. Meanwhile, the new resolution on Iran and whose project was adopted by the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany should be voted with CS as of this week. The text envisages sanctions against 10 Iranian public companies and to three companies concerned with the Body of the guards of the Islamic revolution, unit of elite to the orders of the spiritual leader of the Islamic Republic, the ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Sanctions are also envisaged against 15 physical people: eight leaders placed high of companies of State and seven key characters with the Body of the guards of the Islamic revolution.Original article in French - http://fr.rian.ru/world/20070319/62260006.html

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Pentagon Will Attack Iran in April says Russian Expert

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17417.htm

The Pentagon will attack Iranian military targets (Russian expert)
By RIA Novosti
Translated from French by Babelfish
MOSCOW, March 21 - RIA Novosti.

The Pentagon projects to conduct soon a massive attack against the Iranian military infrastructure, estimates the General Leonid Ivachov, vice-president of the Academy of geopolitical sciences. "I do not have any doubt as for the reality of this operation or, more precisely, of this aggression against Iran", the General Russian in a maintenance with RIA Novosti Wednesday declared.

According to him, testify to it in particular the conference at the beginning of March in Washington to the Committee amricano-Israeli (AIPAC), which decided to support the Bush administration, as well as the fact that a few days after the US Congress revoked his own amendment prohibiting to the president to attack Iran without its downstream."We drew from it the conclusion which this operation would have well place.

In other words, the Israeli community of the United States and the Israeli direction - represented with this conference by the Foreign Minister of the Hebrew State - formulated the directive to attack Iran ", noted the expert. But the United States does not project a terrestrial operation. "According to any obviousness, there will be no terrestrial invasion. It will be strike air massive and of wear, with an aim of destroying the military potential of resistance, the centers of administrative direction, the economic installations key and, if possible, a part of the Iranian direction ", the expert underlined.

The Ivachov General did not draw aside the possibility of strike by means of tactical nuclear weapons against the Iranian nuclear sites. _ "It himself be that one call appel upon some load nuclear of low power", have it suppose. The action of the Pentagon will be able to paralyse the life in the country, to sow panic there and, generally, to found a climate of chaos and uncertainty ", the expert affirmed. "That could revive the fights to be able it inside Iran. A mission of peace will have to follow to put at the capacity to Teheran a government pro-American ", estimated the Ivachov General.

The purpose of all that will be to regild the blazon of the republican administration which will be able to thus declare that the Iranian nuclear potential was destroyed, it added. Among the possible consequences of the military operation, the General quoted the dislocation of the country like Iraq. According to him, "this design gave results in Balkans, now it will be applied - if this one is not it already - with regard to the Large Middle East". Questioned on the question of knowing if Russia were in measurement, by the diplomatic way, to influence the evolutions around Iran, the expert affirmed that "Moscow must exert an impact, requiring an urgent convocation of the Security Council of UNO to study the question of the aggression not sanctioned in preparation against Iran and of the non-observance of the principles of the Charter of UNO". "And there Russia could cooperate with China, France and the nonpermanent members of the Council. Such preventive measures could contain the aggression ", affirms the Ivachov General.
Original article in French - http://fr.rian.ru/world/20070321/62387717.html

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

 

Iraqi Children Suffer PTSD

Little help for Iraqi kids who suffer from trauma

Post-traumatic syndrome seen likely to cripple a generation

Iraqi children look on as U.S. Marines search the area outside Fallujah last October.
Anja Niedringhaus / AP file

Story below inclusions -


(If sites below will not link from this blog, click on url at bottom of article. When that site is accessed (the original of this article), click on links at photos of slide shows or videos. SS)


Impact of Iraq war

Wounded Marine Returns Home to Wed
Redux Pictures
Scars from Iraq
Three U.S. troops share how the visible and invisible wounds of war changed their lives and impacted their loved ones.
Baghdad ER Treats Iraqi And U.S. Casulties Of War
Getty Images
Baghdad ER scenes
The 28th Combat Support Hospital in action after a mortar attack hit a family gathering in the Iraqi capital.
Wolf, 19, of Arlington, Virginia, mourns at the grave of her boyfriend Colin Wolfe of Manassas
Reuters
Remembering the fallen
Family and friends remember loved ones who lost their lives serving in Iraq. View photographs and listen to their stories.



Babak Behnam
Producer


By Babak Behnam
Producer
NBC News
Updated: 7:33 a.m. CT Jan 19, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Yasir lifted his sniper rifle and looked down the sight. His eye followed a man walking down the street. He took a deep breath. He slowly curled his finger. A bang rang out. His target was hit in the middle of the chest and fell down.

Yasir looked up and lifted his arms in triumph. He jumped out of his chair and started to dance around the room. Then his attention returned to the computer screen and he focused his sight on the next target.

Yasir, a cute brown-haired 8-year-old, should be in a classroom, but for the last five months he has refused to go to school.

From the first day of the new school year, Yasir fought with his mother every morning.

At the beginning his mother tried to cajole him into getting ready for class.

Yasir would put up a fuss by protesting that he was tired. Some days she would spend a few hours in the classroom with him. Invariably a school official would call to have her pick him up because Yasir would not stop crying. Then the crying started first thing the morning as soon as Yasir awoke.

In exasperation Yasir’s mother kept him at home for a few days. As time came close to take him back to school, Yasir would start crying all over again. Now she does not even try anymore.

School officials called and said if Yasir doesn’t sit for end of term exams he will be left behind. Fearing that something bad was befalling Yasir at school, his mother sought out some professional help.

Post - traumatic disorder in Iraqi children
Among those examining the psychological problems facing children such as Yasir is Dr. Haithi Al Sady, Dean of Psychological Research Center at Baghdad University, who has begun research into the effects of Post Trauma Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) on the Iraqi population as result of the war and the on-going conflict.

His initial reports show that 28 percent of Iraqi children suffer some degree of PTSD and the numbers are rising.

The years of sanctions and the harsh repressive former regime affected the younger generations the hardest. Al Sady said the sanctions forced some two million children to leave school and hit the streets working to supplement their family’s incomes.

He pointed out that in most cases, the psychological ailments of the parents need to be attended to before treatment for the children can start. Al Sady realizes that’s a tall order in front of him. He has to compete for finances and resources in a medical system already depleted by the daily violence. Most parents are struggling with day-to-day existence in a region of the world where stigma of psychosis is hard to avoid.

Computer games, but no school
Yasir’s mother pleaded with him to get dressed. Yasir replied, “I am tired. I do not want to go to school.” His mother lost patience and yelled, “You are acting like a little girl. If you continue in this way your friends will make fun of you and call you lazy.” Yasir ran away bawling.

His father was a senior Baath party member and a military pharmacist. At the end of the war and fearful of revenge killings, he fled to Amman where he is trying to establish a new life and earn enough money to send for his family.

Yasir and the rest of his family were forced to move from house to house, town to town, to avoid the whirling destruction around them. They ended up in a distant family’s home just east of Baghdad, when their trustworthy driver stole their only means of transportation, stranding them in a place they didn’t know, with people they didn’t know. Finally Yasir’s grandfather sent for them. Now they are living in a single room in his house.

According to Al Sady, even children who managed to survive unscathed during the war are being bombarded with sights and sounds of the continuing turmoil. The daily explosions, kidnappings, coalition military patrols, helicopters flying overhead, and siren-wailing police cars have left an imprint on the children. Forty-four percent of the 26 million Iraqis are under the age of fifteen.

Yasir only hangs around friends who play computer war games with him. He talks about the different types of weapons. He constantly discusses his latest computer game “Kill.”

His father has called Yasir repeatedly from Amman to convince him to return to school. With an encouraging voice, Yasir’s father has told him that in order to become a great doctor, an engineer, or even a military man like his father; Yasir needs to continue his studies. Yasir agrees with his father and has promised to go back, but to date has not.

His sisters try to teach him in an effort to get him interested in school, but to no avail. He spends his days at the computer or watching cartoons.

Treatment needed for a whole generation
Yasir is one of the lucky few getting treatment.

“Since the major humanitarian organizations have left Iraq due to security situation,” said Al Sady, “we have only a handful of qualified doctors to deal with all psychiatric cases much less those specialized in children. We need to deal with these problems when we still have a handle on them. Otherwise they will compound and affect entire generations.”

Al Sady hopes to provide courses for teachers who are on the frontlines in order to stem the coming tide.

An overhaul of the mental-health system will be the only way to fill the huge gaps present today. Al Sady said for now these are all just ideas until the proper funding is available.

Meantime, Yasir stood at the back yard of his house, overlooking the main road.

A U.S. military foot patrol walked past. Some of the children in the neighbourhood run toward the soldiers waving their hands. Yasir started to run toward the wall of the yard, but suddenly stopped. He turned and walked back towards the house. “Maybe my father will not like me waving to the Americans,” he said.

Babak Behnam is an NBC News producer. Some names were withheld for security reasons. Additional reporting by Sukab Abdul Salam.


[There isn't sufficient funding to treat US military suffering from PTSD and certainly not enough to treat Iraqi children, nor does Iraq have the funds after being impoverished by sanctions and a devastating war. Plus the fact that much if not all of their oil money strangely disappeared. What will this generation of Iraqis think of Americans as they grow up? Will they join the ever increasing number of insurgents to perpetuate the bloody violence now destroying Iraq even further and slaughtering our military? Seven Stones.]





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THIS IS WAR !

Baby Killed in US Raid on Home. Following a "tip" that insurgents were in home, US forces attacked the home, in which adults and 5 children were killed. No evidence of insurgents was found.


THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG IS "THIS IS WAR", AND ITS PURPOSE IS TO BRING TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PUBLIC THE CRUEL VICIOUSNESS AND DESTRUCTION OF WAR.

THIS BLOG DEALS WITH WAR PRIMARILY FROM THE ARAB EXPERIENCE, ALTHOUGH OTHER NATIONS WILL BE PRESENTED ALSO. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO INDICATE A BIAS AGAINST OR FOR ANY NATION.This blogger is pro-humanity and anti-war.

This blog presents the inhumanity of war.There will be fewer posts re: the Israeli involvement and their position. The Israelis, like the U.S., allows few photos of their wounded or dead to be published. The media, partial to the shock value of atrocities, concentrates more on the Arab death and destruction, so fewer sites are found regarding the Israelis in Lebanon or the US in Iraq.

A blog presenting the American and Coalition experience may be found at http://imperial-sacrifices.blogspot.com/

This blog is not a pleasant one. It isn't meant to be. Some sites contain **graphic, ** horrific photos.

THIS IS WAR !

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War- The Smallest Victims

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17695401

Media gallery: Iraq’s smallest casualties


The children
Iraq’s most vulnerable victims
The smallest casualties
Thousands of children have been orphaned in Iraq. Richard Engel reported from one orphanage for ‘Dateline NBC’ in September 2006.
Before his surgery on Monday, Wsim was comforted by his father Rabea Abo Senda
A second chance
Young Iraqis benefit from a U.S. program for ill children, Newsweek reports.
AP file
The stress of war
NBC’s Babak Behnam reports on a little boy and how war has affected him.
Video: In the crossfire
A 5-year-old girl is saved by the compassion of military and civilian volunteers.
Video: The captain’s story
Capt. Brian Freeman was killed in Iraq, but not before saving an 11-year-old boy.
Nightly News
Video: For the orphans
Capt. John Powers founded a program to help orphans caught in the war.
Video: Saving one baby
U.S. soldiers bring an 8-month-old girl to America for emergency treatment.
MSNBC TV
Video: A gift of life
Four Iraqi children are saved by surgery in the United States. From WNBC-TV.





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Sunday, March 18, 2007

 

Habeas Corpus - Rule of Law or Executive Tyranny

I will not debate "terrorists" or "freedom fighters". I do not like terroristic acts nor the people who commit them. I do not approve of targeting civilians in any war - declared or otherwise. If the terrorists/freedom fighters want to engage in battle, let them do so with the military and not make cowardly attacks on innocent, unarmed civilians.
That said, I also oppose our tyrannical president and the gutless Repub Congress for stripping other human beings of their right to proper legal procedures when they are accused of wrong doing. If the accused, tried in a proper court of law, are found to be truly guilty then punish them according to the law.
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http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/03/14/guantnamo_dred_scott
_and_the_amistad.php (blogger would not wrap this url and published it extending into sidebar space, which pushed my sidebar to the bottom. To access url, type entire address into search bar..)

Guantánamo, Dred Scott And The Amistad
Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith
March 14, 2007

Brendan Smith and Jeremy Brecher are the editors, with Jill Cutler, of In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond (Metropolitan/Holt, 2005).

Can an American court declare that a group of human beings have no rights and can be enslaved or abused at will with no legal recourse? That question will soon be coming before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the last days of 2006, the GOP-led Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, which among other things stripped the right of habeas corpus from the captives held at Guantánamo. In late February, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld that part of the law. Now, both the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing the captives, and the Solicitor General's Office have asked the Court for expedited review at its next conference on March 30.

Before they make a final decision, the justices should consider the cases of two of the Court's most famous imprisoned petitioners: the freed slave Dred Scott and the captive voyagers on the slave ship Amistad.
The Dred Scott decision is often regarded as the most shameful in the history of the Supreme Court. Scott was held as a slave even though his late owner had promised to free him at his own death. Scott's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was granted and upheld by the lower courts. But it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1857 on the grounds that a Negro has "no rights which the white man was bound to respect.... They are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States."

A century and a half later, in Boumediene v. Bush and Al-Odah v. United States , the D.C. Court of Appeals has similarly overturned writs of habeas corpus granted by lower courts on the grounds that this fundamental right can be denied to a specified group of human beings. The court ruled that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 strips Guantánamo detainees of the right to challenge their detention in U.S. federal courts.

Hina Shamsi, deputy director of Human Rights First's Law and Security Program, explains it this way:
The Court of Appeal's ruling runs counter to one of the most important checks on unbridled executive power enshrined in the U.S. Constitution: the right to challenge imprisonment in a full and fair proceeding. If allowed to stand, this ruling would permit the government to hold prisoners, potentially indefinitely, without having to show to a court of law why the person has been detained.

Before the justices risk going down the shameful road to a modern-day version of the Dred Scott decision, they should also consider the landmark decision from an earlier struggle for human rights—the 1841 Amistad case, restored to our national memory by Stephen Spielberg's movie “Amistad.”

In the Amistad case, the Supreme Court courageously held that human rights and the rule of law must apply to captives who had been seized in Africa and imprisoned in the United States.

The Amistad captives were mostly Mendi people—men and children abducted in their homeland of Sierra Leone, shipped to Cuba and sold as slaves. They revolted, seized control of the Amistad and sailed up the Atlantic coast towards New England where they were captured by the U.S. Navy and imprisoned in Connecticut. The U.S. Attorney General—an appointee of President Martin Van Buren, who curried favor with the slave-owning Southern—demanded that the courts turn them over for delivery to Spanish authorities—even planning to send them on an official U.S. government ship so Connecticut courts could not intercede with a writ of habeas corpus.

The Amistad case and today's Guantánamo cases raise the same two fundamental questions of human rights and the rule of law: Does the executive branch of government ever have the authority to seize people, imprison them and abuse them with no appeal to a court? And does the executive ever have authority to act without any possibility of review by the judiciary? In the Amistad case, the Supreme Court answered no to both questions.

The executive's position in the Amistad case met withering scorn from former President John Quincy Adams—splendidly portrayed in Spielberg's movie by Anthony Hopkins—who defended the Amistad captives before the Supreme Court.

Adams charged that the government was depriving the captives of the most fundamental rights. "Have the officers of the U.S. Navy a right to seize men by force… to fire at them, to overpower them, to disarm them, to put them on board of a vessel and carry them by force and against their will to another state, without warrant or form of law?... Is it for this court to sanction such monstrous usurpation and executive tyranny?"

Adams condemned the Van Buren Administration's attempt to usurp the authority of the courts. Perhaps, Adams conceded, it may be easy for the royal governor at Havana "to seize any man" and "send him beyond seas for any purpose." But "has the President of the United States any such powers? Can the American executive do such things?"

Adams argued that overriding the jurisdiction of the courts "would be the assumption of a control over the judiciary by the President, which would overthrow the whole fabric of the Constitution; it would violate the principles of our government generally and in every particular."

The Supreme Court ruled that U.S. courts were bound to protect the rights of the Amistad captives. The rights of the case "must be decided upon the eternal principles of justice and international law." To rule otherwise would "take away the equal rights of all foreigners, who should contest their claims before any of our courts, to equal justice," or "deprive such foreigners of the protection given them" by "the general law of nations."

In 1841 the Supreme Court took a bold stand against executive tyranny and for human rights and the rule of law. Now the Court is again being asked whether the United States will remain a government under law or whether we allow it to become a presidential dictatorship. The pending action in the Guantánamo cases will test whether it wishes to be remembered along with the authors of the monstrous Dred Scott decision or rather with the friends of freedom who defended the human rights of the Amistad captives.

© 2007 The Nation

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Cost of 4 Years of War; Money, Not Blood

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Is the Iraq war a relative bargain?

Conflict a small piece of overall budget, but it’s being paid for with debt

Image: U.S. soldiers in Baghdad
David Furst / AFP - Getty Images


U.S. soldiers from Baker Company 2-12 Infantry Battalion conduct a
foot patrol in the Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad on Saturday.



NBC World Blog





Impact of Iraq war

Baghdad ER Treats Iraqi And U.S. Casulties Of War
Getty Images
Baghdad ER scenes
The 28th Combat Support Hospital in action after a mortar attack hit a family gathering in the Iraqi capital.

Wolf, 19, of Arlington, Virginia, mourns at the grave of her boyfriend Colin Wolfe of Manassas
Reuters
Remembering the fallen
Family and friends remember loved ones who lost their lives serving in Iraq. View photographs and listen to their stories.

The war after the war
Disabled in Iraq, Cpl. B.J. Jackson and his family find life at home has changed, for better and worse. View audio slide show.



Updated: 9:52 p.m. CT March 17, 2007

NEW YORK - After four years, America’s cost for the war in Iraq has reached nearly $500 billion — more than the total for the Korean War and nearly as much as 12 years in Vietnam, adjusting for inflation. The ultimate cost could reach $1 trillion or more.

A lot of money? No question.




The problem, he and other budget analysts argue, isn’t so much the overall cost of the Iraq war. It’s the way the government has chosen to pay for it.

Unusual payment method
For one thing, war funding for both Iraq and Afghanistan has come in the form of supplemental appropriations outside the normal federal budget process. Typically these “supplementals” are used to pay for unexpected emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina, and they receive much less scrutiny from Congress.




INTERACTIVE
Invasion Iraq: Day by day
In maps and stories, how the coalition defeated Saddam
But after four years the Iraq war is still being funded with supplementals. In December, congressional budget leaders from both parties sent a letter to President Bush asking him to start paying for Iraq through the traditional budget process. The administration has done that in its 2008 budget year request — but not before asking for another $100 billion supplemental to keep the war going through the end of this year.

Paying on credit
Virtually every war in U.S. history has required the government to borrow at least some money, Hormats said. But Franklin D. Roosevelt also eliminated some New Deal programs and cut others to help pay for World War II (the most expensive of American wars, it cost more than $2 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars). Truman raised taxes and slashed domestic spending to help pay for Korea.

“No such thing has occurred” during this war, Hormats lamented this month during a panel discussion held at the New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis in New York City. “This war we had no reassessment of fiscal policy, no alteration of fiscal policy to make room in the budget to pay for the war.”

Instead, the war is being paid for with debt.

Administration officials downplay the war’s cost and the growing defense budget, which will be larger by the end of this year than at any time since World War II.

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Is the Iraq war a relative bargain?
Conflict a small piece of overall budget, but it’s being paid for with debt
Image: U.S. soldiers in Baghdad
U.S. soldiers from Baker Company 2-12 Infantry Battalion conduct a foot patrol in the Dora neighbourhood of southern Baghdad on Saturday.
View related photos
David Furst / AFP - Getty Images

NBC World Blog


NBC News correspondents and producers around the globe share their insight on news events.

Impact of Iraq war


Baghdad ER Treats Iraqi And U.S. Casulties Of War
Getty Images

• Baghdad ER scenes
The 28th Combat Support Hospital in action after a mortar attack hit a family gathering in the Iraqi capital.
Wolf, 19, of Arlington, Virginia, mourns at the grave of her boyfriend Colin Wolfe of Manassas
Reuters

• Remembering the fallen
Family and friends remember loved ones who lost their lives serving in Iraq. View photographs and listen to their stories.

• The war after the war
Disabled in Iraq, Cpl. B.J. Jackson and his family find life at home has changed, for better and worse. View audio slide show.

• Amid concerns, FBI lapses went on

• House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy

Updated: 9:52 p.m. CT March 17, 2007

NEW YORK - After four years, America’s cost for the war in Iraq has reached nearly $500 billion — more than the total for the Korean War and nearly as much as 12 years in Vietnam, adjusting for inflation. The ultimate cost could reach $1 trillion or more.

A lot of money? No question.

But even though the war has turned out to be much more expensive than Bush administration officials predicted on the eve of the March 2003 invasion, it is relatively affordable — at least in historical terms.

The problem, he and other budget analysts argue, isn’t so much the overall cost of the Iraq war. It’s the way the government has chosen to pay for it.

Unusual payment method
For one thing, war funding for both Iraq and Afghanistan has come in the form of supplemental appropriations outside the normal federal budget process. Typically these “supplementals” are used to pay for unexpected emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina, and they receive much less scrutiny from Congress.




INTERACTIVE
• Invasion Iraq: Day by day
In maps and stories, how the coalition defeated Saddam
But after four years the Iraq war is still being funded with supplementals. In December, congressional budget leaders from both parties sent a letter to President Bush asking him to start paying for Iraq through the traditional budget process. The administration has done that in its 2008 budget year request — but not before asking for another $100 billion supplemental to keep the war going through the end of this year.

• Video special: Iraq then and now
• Do you remember 'shock and awe'?
• Day by day, images of a four-week invasion
“This war we had no reassessment of fiscal policy, no alteration of fiscal policy to make room in the budget to pay for the war.”

Instead, the war is being paid for with debt.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

 

5 Years of War; Protests


protest as war enters 5th year
By LARRY MARGASAK 7 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Denouncing a conflict entering its fifth year, protesters across the country raised their voices Saturday against U.S. policy in Iraq and marched by the thousands to the
Pentagon in the footsteps of an epic demonstration four decades ago against another divisive war.

A counterprotest was staged, too, on a day of dueling signs and sentiments such as "Illegal Combat" and "Peace Through Strength," and songs like "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "War (What's It Good For?)."

Thousands crossed the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial to rally loudly but peacefully near the Pentagon. "We're here in the shadow of the war machine," said anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. "It's like being in the shadow of the death star. They take their death and destruction and they export it around the world. We need to shut it down."

Smaller protests were held in other U.S. cities, stretching to Tuesday's four-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. In Los Angeles, Vietnam veteran Ed Ellis, 59, hoped the demonstrations would be the "tipping point" against a war that has killed more than 3,200 U.S. troops and engulfed Iraq in a deadly cycle of violence.

"It's all moving in our direction, it's happening," he predicted at the Hollywood rally. "The administration, their get-out-of-jail-free card, they don't get one anymore."
Other protests — and counter-demonstrations — were held in San Francisco, San Diego and Hartford, Conn., where more than 1,000 rallied at the Old State House.

Overseas, tens of thousands marched in Madrid as Spaniards called not only for the U.S. to get out of Iraq but to close the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Smaller protests were staged in Greece and Turkey.

Speakers at the Pentagon rally criticized the Bush administration at every turn but blamed congressional Democrats, too, for refusing to cut off money for the war.
"This is a bipartisan war," New York City labor activist Michael Letwin told the crowd. "The Democratic party cannot be trusted to end it."

Five people were arrested after the demonstration when they walked onto a bridge that had been closed off to accommodate the protest and then refused orders to leave so police could reopen it to traffic, Pentagon police spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said. They were cited and released, she said.

SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web'
President Bush was at Camp David in Maryland for the weekend. Spokesman Blair Jones said of the protests: "Our Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express one's views. The men and women in our military are fighting to bring the people of Iraq the same rights and freedoms."

People traveled from afar in stormy weather to join the march.

"Too many people have died and it doesn't solve anything," said Ann Bonner, who drove through snow with her husband, Tom O'Grady, and two children, 13 and 10, from Athens, Ohio. "I feel bad carrying out my daily activities while people are suffering, Americans and Iraqis."

Police on horseback and foot separated the two groups of demonstrators, who shouted at each other from opposite sides of Constitution Avenue in view of the Lincoln Memorial before the anti-war group marched. Barriers also kept them apart.

But war protester Susanne Shine of Boone, N.C., found herself in a crowd of counterdemonstrators, and came out in tears, with her sign in shreds. "They ripped up my peace sign," she said, after police escorted her, her husband and two adult daughters from the group. "It was really pretty scary for me."

Protesters walked in a blustery, cold wind across the Potomac River with motorcycles clearing their way and police boats and helicopters watching.
Police no longer give official estimates but said privately that perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 anti-war demonstrators marched, with a smaller but still sizable number of counterprotesters also out in force. An hour into the three-hour Pentagon rally, with the temperature near freezing, protesters had peeled away to a point where fewer than 1,000 were left.

Protesters met at the starting point of the Oct. 21, 1967, march on the Pentagon, which began peacefully but turned ugly in clashes between authorities and more radical elements of the estimated crowd of 50,000 on the plaza in front of the Defense Department's headquarters. More than 600 were arrested that day.

That protest has lived on in the popular imagination because of the crowd's attempts to lift the Pentagon off the ground with their chants; they fell short of their fanciful goal.
Veterans lined up at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and waved U.S, POW-MIA and military-unit flags. Not all were committed to the U.S. course in Iraq, however.

"I'm not sure I'm in support of the war," said William "Skip" Publicover of Charleston, S.C., who was a swift boat gunner in Vietnam and lost two friends whose names are etched on the memorial's wall. "I learned in Vietnam that it's difficult if not impossible to win the hearts and minds of the people."

But Larry Stimeling, 57, a Vietnam veteran from Morton, Ill., said the loss of public support for the Iraq war mirrors what happened in Vietnam and leaves troops without the backing they need.

"We didn't lose the war in Vietnam, we lost it right here on this same ground," he said, pointing to the grass on the National Mall. "It's the same thing now."

In Sacramento, Calif., nearly 200 veterans and parents of troops gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to rally in support of U.S. troops in Iraq.
"This is not a war that can be fought under a white dome in Washington, D.C.," said Kevin Graves, whose son died in Iraq. "If politicians can't support the troops, they should go fight instead."

Opening weekend events, more than 200 were arrested in a demonstration late Friday in front of the White House and charged with disobeying a lawful order or crossing a police line.
___
Associated Press writers Ann Sanner and Cal Woodward contributed to this report.


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