Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Hogs of War

There's been a few Iraq or GWOT related news stories around this last couple of days which have been mostly eclipsed by the Great Withdrawal Debate and Bush's release today of a 35 page PR blurb. Time for an Insta-Hoglets special.

  • Remember those alleged CIA prisons in Europe? The European investigator is getting closer, methinks. Here's a long report from Germany's Der Spiegel newspaper which says he even has plane numbers. Maybe that is why Condi is promising the US will respond to EU worries after the Bush administration originally tried to dismiss the affair with a glib "no comment".

  • From last Friday's Guardian comes an important piece - "There is a growing American realisation that it will have to deal with the resistance: General Rick Lynch, spokesperson of the US-led multinational force in Iraq, this week emphasised it was vital to differentiate between insurgent elements. Iraq will be unable to function normally until the insurgency is brought under control and, as history has shown, a conventional military power can never defeat a guerrilla force without the support of the indigenous people."

  • Lawrence Wilkerson, ex chief of staff to Colin Powell, continued his assault on Fortress BushCo with an allegation in a BBC interview that Dick Cheney could be guilty of a war crime over the abuse of prisoners.

  • Insurgent attacks are costing Iraq bigtime - about 500,000 barrels of oil a day, almost a third of its daily output. At today's oil prices, that's costing the country at least $28 million in export earnings every day. Thats a lot of oil money no-one is seeing, George. Are your oil buddies pissed? At over $10 billion a year, that could even make a dent in paying for reconstruction in Iraq!

  • The US Marines have begun a new campaign in an area 85 miles west of Baghdad which is being described as "an al-Qaida in Iraq safe area and base of operations for the manufacture of vehicle car bombs, roadside bombs." The area in question is near the town of Hit, which was part of the February andApril offensives aimed at denying Al-Qaida "the enemy advantage of being able to hide amongst the populace or in remote desert hideaways" according to one US military spokesman. Back in May, Marine Col. Chase told the NY Times the area "Now it is no longer a safe haven, and it will never be a safe have again." Third time the charm, maybe? Or is it just a case of hoping Americans can't remember all those arab town names?

  • But Iraqis can remember all those town names and the way each is declared finally safe time and again. Maybe that's why the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

  • It was a bad week for Rummie - he and his new Chief of the Joint Chiefs can't seem to agree, either on the definition of an "insurgency" or on what US troops should do if they see torture being carried out. Of course, Bush still uses the word "insurgent" too, so it looks like Rummie is odd man out again.

  • Harry Reid revealed that he had been told Osama binLaden had been killed in the Pakistani earthquake and rather than be happy at the news, the Right castigated Reid for being a blabbermouth. Maybe they need Osama binBogeyman around to scare their fellow Americans with...

  • I'm sorry but I've never been sure that the latte-sipping folks at MoveOn.Org were bright enough or down-to-earth enough to be the premier voice for the progressive movement. This bit of idiocy is exhibit A. Sheesh, what a dumb thing to do.

  • Let's stay with dumb and dumber for a last item. Dumb: Hilarity Clinton has issued a statement saying she was wrong to vote for the war and calling for a withdrawal. Just calling - she has no plan of her own to offer. Hardly what one would expect from the supposedly premier Democratic Presidential hopeful. Dumber: Meanwhile the Dem that Republicans love to love, Joe Lieberman, says that Georgie is right to stay the course and everything is hunky-dory in Iraq.
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