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I'd probably be a little bitter even if the war was just (Tuesday, November 01, 2005)

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  • jim@leftopia.com
     Iraq Front News Subscribe: IraqFrontNews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Tuesday, November 01, 2005 News roundup by Jim Galasyn
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      Tuesday, November 01, 2005
      News roundup by Jim Galasyn
       
       
       
      Iraq Front News

      Tuesday, November 01, 2005

      Bring Them Home

      Fool Me Once

      Hearts And Minds

      White Man's Burden

      Graph of US Military Deaths


      Graph of US Military Casualties


      Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq
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      Iraq Body Count


      Cost of War

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      U.S. Soldier Killed near Haswa (Babil Province)
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      A U.S. soldier was killed on Monday by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in the area of Haswa, southwest of Baghdad, the military said.

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      Two contractor employees with Huntsville-based center die in Iraq
      October 31. 2005

      Two contractor employees of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers munitions disposal center were killed in Iraq and a third was injured when their vehicle was struck by an explosive, the agency said Monday. Joe Smith, an American who lived In Cambridge, England, and Kaled Ali, a Jordanian national, were killed Oct. 27 when the improvised device exploded, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Engineeering and Support Center Huntsville. The name of the injured employee was not released. The three worked for Cochise Consultancy, a private company based in Valrico, Fla., that destroys Iraqi munitions, according to the announcement. The Huntsville center had hired Cochise for the Coalition Munitions Clearance Program, which is responsible for clearing, transporting, storing and destroying ammunition that has been captured or poses a danger in Iraq. Debra Valine, a spokeswoman for the Huntsville center, said 11 Cochise contractors have died while working in Iraq. Of the 1,285 Huntsville center contractors working in Iraq, 187 work for Cochise, Valine said.

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      Three Iraqis killed, three injured in southern Baghdad
      Nov 1, 2005

      BAGHDAD, Nov 1 (KUNA) -- Three Iraqis were killed and three others injured in a bomb blast in southern Baghdad on Tuesday, an Iraqi police source said. He said in a press statement the road-side went off while an Iraqi police vehicle was passing in the Madaen area. The bomb explosion killed three Iraqis, including a policeman, and wounded three others. (end) ahh.

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      US troops shoot to kill shadows on Syria-Iraq border
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 17:36:10 GMT

      Insurgents fighting the US-led coalition in Iraq remain active in this small town on the border with Syria, despite repeated military sweeps aimed at flushing them out.

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      Soldiers take weapons, terrorists off streets in northern Iraq
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 16:39:38 GMT

      Multi-National Forces from Task Force Freedom killed two terrorists, wounded three, detained 11 suspected terrorists, and seized weapons caches in northern Iraq Oct.

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      Iraq defies bombs to hold election lottery
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 16:22:45 GMT

      Iraqi election officials defied a new upsurge of violence and held a televised lottery on Tuesday to determine the order in which more than 200 parties will appear on ballot papers at December 15 elections.

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      Moroccan Blamed for Car Bombing in Iraq
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 15:39:38 GMT

      Iraq's government on Tuesday blamed a Moroccan for a triple car-bomb attack that killed at least 60 people last month in a Shiite town in central Iraq and offered a reward for his arrest.

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      .50-caliber ammo used so much that supplies run low
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      Washington- U.S. troops in Iraq are firing .50-caliber machine guns at such a high rate, the Army is scrambling to resupply them with ammunition - in some cases dusting off crates of World War II machine gun rounds and shipping them off to combat units.

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      Iraq bombers use more complex tactics
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 18:53:07 GMT

      U.S. military officials are seeing growing sophistication on the part of suicide car bombers in Iraq.

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      US probe recommends possible death for sergeant
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 15:37:55 GMT

      A U.S. military probe recommended on Tuesday that a sergeant charged with murdering two colleagues in Iraq face a possible death sentence at a court martial for the first such crime since the 2003 invasion.

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      Volume of roadside bombings in Iraq increases: general
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 22:34:22 GMT

      Insurgents in Iraq have stepped up the volume of roadside bombings in Iraq, even as US troops have devised ways to blunt their effectiveness, the top US military chief said.

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      U.S.offers realistic training in dealing with roadside bombs
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 00:00:00 GMT

      A mock airport, library, gas station and bank are opening at this base Wednesday to help U.S. troops learn how to deal with the roadside bombs that have taken such a high toll in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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      Iraqi security forces pay price of frontline duty
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 18:03:55 GMT

      Iraqi security forces, taking on an increasingly active role in counter-insurgency operations, are now the main target for rebels in the Sunni heartland of northern and western Iraq.

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      Military Faces Parental Counterattack - High School Recruitment, a Longtime Tradition, Raises Worries in Wartime
      November 1, 2005

      For as long as Principal Alan Goodwin can recall, military recruiters -- in their crisp, carefully pressed uniforms -- have stopped by Walt Whitman High School to chat with students about the benefits of a career in the armed forces. They set up tables, greeted students with a firm handshake and passed out glossy brochures. But a visit this fall to the Bethesda school by recruiters had parents firing off frantic missives on the school listserv. They demanded to know exactly what recruiters were doing on campus and why the parents had not been told in advance. Goodwin was puzzled. Recruiters "have been allowed on campus for as long as I can remember," Goodwin said. "But maybe people are more sensitive about it now because of the war." In past years, parents at Whitman and other high schools across the country may have paid scant attention to calls from military recruiters, but as the war in Iraq continues and the number of casualties grows, parents seem to be growing increasingly sensitive. Now many parents -- aided by such anti-recruiting groups as the San Francisco-based Leave My Child Alone -- are demanding that school boards make it easier for families to prevent military recruiters from contacting their sons and daughters. They are mounting e-mail and letter-writing campaigns telling families they can block school systems from releasing student information to military recruiters. Even such national educational groups as the PTA are getting involved in the effort to get the word out. But the military is spreading its own word -- about the benefits of a career in the armed services. This month, the Pentagon launched a $10 million marketing campaign aimed at encouraging parents to be more open to allowing their children to enlist. Although officials say the effort is not tied to growing antiwar sentiment, the commercials feature kids broaching the topic of enlistment with apprehensive parents and urge mothers and fathers to make it a "two-way conversation." Many states have long allowed military recruiters access to student phone numbers and addresses, but the practice received a boost from the federal No Child Left Behind act. School systems that decline to release the information now risk losing federal dollars. The advocacy is putting school officials in a quandary, particularly principals who say they want to be responsive to parents but also want to be fair to military recruiters, who by law are allowed the same access to student information as college recruiters. And, principals point out, although some parents wish to prevent military recruiters from reaching their children, others view military service as a good option. "I'm just trying to follow the rules -- and the rules are the same for everyone,'' said James Fernandez, principal at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, where recruiters have visited four or five times this year. Last year, five students from the school enlisted in the armed forces. Principals also know that they must act quickly to address parent concerns. As soon as Goodwin learned that parents were upset, he fired off an e-mail explaining that military recruiters -- like college recruiters -- must make an appointment with the school's career center before coming to campus. He told the parents that recruiters are allowed to set up a table and talk to students, just as they have done in the past. To ease concerns, however, he said the school's career center will give parents advance notice of recruiter visits. Some parents and organizations have criticized schools for not doing a better job of publicizing opt-out policies, which give parents the chance to restrict the release of student information. Many school officials, however, said they thought parents already knew they had this right. In the District, Maryland and Virginia, as well as Illinois and California, recruiters have long had access to student information. Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, noted that for many years, the vast majority of public schools -- 88 percent -- have allowed recruiters access to student phone numbers and addresses. Still, these are different times. With the Army having difficulty meeting recruiting goals and rumors about a draft continuing to circulate on the Internet, people are anxious. "There is some angst,'' said Pat O'Neill, president of the Montgomery County School Board. "I think it's fallout from a not-favorable position to the war in Iraq." Montgomery schools recently gave parents the option of withholding their children's information from military recruiters on the student privacy forms they distribute each year -- something schools in Fairfax County also have done. Parents in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties last month asked their school boards to better publicize military opt-out choices for parents. The National PTA also is pushing for change. It wants the law rewritten so that students would have to sign a form saying they want their information released to the military, said spokesman James Martinez. "We don't have anything against what the military is trying to do," he said. "We're just concerned about student privacy." Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would rewrite the law so that families have to opt in rather than opt out of having their child's information released. Jerome Brocks, a parent in the D.C. public school system, said he wants more than better information about opt-out forms. He would like the military to be kept away from students, period. Last year, when his daughter was a senior, he said, he grew alarmed by how aggressively recruiters behaved. Brocks said recruiters called his home and asked to speak to his daughter more than a dozen times. "I just don't think the military should have a place in our schools,'' he said. For their part, recruiters say they realize that parents have the right to remove their children's names from recruiting lists but are not certain what impact the opt-out campaigns will have on their efforts. "Naturally, we'd like to speak to as many young people as possible to start a conversation about what the Army has to offer,'' said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Kentucky. "It's up to the schools to notify the parents of their options.'' In Montgomery County, Pat Elder, a parent at Walt Whitman, was among those who successfully lobbied the school system to change its student privacy forms to offer parents the option of restricting the release of student information to the military. But Elder thinks school officials can do even more. He and other parents also are pushing for more consistent systemwide policies for how military recruiters operate on campuses. "We need to put together systemwide regulations and go after area-wide and nationwide regulations," Elder said. "This issue resonates among parents, not just those who are antiwar, but those who are concerned about their children's privacy."

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      Security incidents in Iraq, Nov 1
      Nov. 1, 2005

      Nov 1 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Nov. 1, as of 1130 GMT. U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad. Asterisk denotes a new or updated entry.
       
      * BAGHDAD - One civilian was killed in eastern Baghdad when Iraqi police commandos opened fire by mistake, police said. Another civilian was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. army patrol in the capital, police said.
       
      * BALAD - Police in Balad, north of Baghad, said they found two bodies, both of them shot dead. One was identified as a police officer and was found in a river; the other was found in a village nearby.
       
      * SAMARRA - A police officer was kidnapped from his home near Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
       
      BAGHDAD - Two civilians were killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police commando patrol in southern Baghdad, police sources said. Two Iraqi police commandos were wounded when their patrol came under fire in a separate attack in the same area.
       
      BAGHDAD - One civilian was wounded when a police commando patrol was hit by a roadside bomb on the Saydiya highway leading south from the capital, police said.
       
      HASWA - A U.S. soldier was killed on Monday by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in the area of Haswa, southwest of Baghdad, the military said.

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      2,000 US troops dead in Iraq: One survivor tells his story
      27 October 2005

      BRAVE Tomas Young saw it as his patriotic duty to join the Army three days after 9/11. Tomas, 25, wanted revenge on the terrorists who murdered nearly 2,750 people in the Twin Towers. But on his first mission in Iraq - and before he had fired a single bullet in anger - he was left paralysed from the chest down after being shot in an ambush. Now his anguish at never being able to walk again has turned to anger that he and thousands of others are being sent to fight an immoral war for George Bush. As America this week mourned its 2000th victim of the war, Tomas said: "I joined the Army to exact some sort of retribution on what happened to us, whether it be going to find Osama bin Laden or to get al-Qaeda. "I joined to get back for what happened. Nothing more, nothing less. But so far there have been 2,000 dead American soldiers and some 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. "That's certainly a lot more than we lost on September 11. What has happened in Iraq is wrong." Tomas, now confined to a wheelchair, is bitter that his Government's lies got him to enrol. And he is frustrated Mr Bush will not listen to the American public and withdraw the troops. He said: "From the start I didn't see a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but when Bush first said, 'Weapons of mass destruction', I bought into that a bit. "However, when that reason became more and more bulls**t I started to fall off the bandwagon. "It became clear they didn't have any strong connection and that's when I started to snap." THE young Army specialist is contemptuous of his President's attempts to justify the conflict. "Bush kept coming up with reason after reason that was proving to be wrong," Tomas said. "It reminded me of when I was naughty as a kid. "Mom would find out my first excuse wasn't true, so I'd make up a second and third until I would finally admit what I'd done and take my whupping." His opposition to the war hardened soon after he was sent to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry regiment in March 2004. The soldier, of Kansas City, Missouri, recalled: "I was saying, 'See these oil fires? This is why we're here, guys. We're not defending freedom'. I realised my reasons for joining were being twisted." The day that would alter his life forever came on April 4. He and his colleagues were sent to guard a rescue mission in Baghdad's Sadr City district. He found himself one of 25 troops crammed into a truck meant to hold 18. Tomas said: "The truck was beaten up. "It was supposed to have a canvas cover and armour on the sides. It didn't have either. "Space was so tight that I had my legs folded and was lying on my back so more people could get in. "I was meant to have my M16 aiming off the side but I couldn't get enough room to pivot it around and shoot if I needed to." Although the rescue mission went smoothly, his truck later came under attack from rooftop snipers armed with AK47s. Tomas said: "They opened fire and myself and three or four others got shot. It was like shooting fish in a barrel." HE was hit under the shoulder blade and the bullet severed his spinal cord, paralysing him instantly. "I went numb," he recalled. "I dropped my M16 and my fingertips were tingling. It was like a shock through my body. I went rigid. "I remember looking at my hands and trying to will them to grab my M16, but couldn't get them to move. I tried to yell but all I could get out was a horse-whisper." A second shot tore into his knee. He scarcely felt it. Tomas was eventually airlifted to hospitals in Kuwait, Germany and, finally, Washington DC. He was constantly sedated and recalls little. But he remembers the emotional moment he came round and saw his mother, Cathy Smith. "I'm a mommy's boy," he admitted. "I don't care how tough you are, when you see your mom after what I've been through you start to cry." Last Saturday, Staff Sgt George Alexander, 34, became the 2,000th US soldier killed in the conflict. He had been hit by a roadside bomb in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, five days earlier. The death was viewed as a grim landmark by America's growing anti-war movement. Now Tomas is determined to ensure it is one of the last. He is a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War movement and recently joined leading activist Cindy Sheehan at a demo outside Mr Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her son Casey, 24, was killed in Baghdad on the same day Tomas was hit. Tomas and wife Brie, 24, are now trying to look to the future and are thinking of having IVF treatment to start a family. But he remains angry about the way the war changed his life. And he called on Mr Bush to stop others suffering in the same way. "I'd probably be a little bitter even if the war was just," he confessed. "But the fact that I'm in this situation, compounded with the fact we went to an immoral war, makes it harder to accept. "Bush led us into something that was wrong. He now needs to lead us out."

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      US Senate closed session on Iraq and spy scandal causes political war
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 20:44:17 GMT

      The US Senate held a rare secret session to discuss a scandal that led to the resignation of a top White House official last week and the intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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      Libby Replaced by Scandal-Ridden Aides
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 05:06:00 GMT

      Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney replaced his indicted chief of staff, Irving Lewis Libby on Monday with two problematic figures-- David Addington and John Hannah.As Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel note, Addington is the author of legal memos justifying torture of prisoners held by the US abroad, in direct contradiction of US treaty obligations under international law. I guess Cheney thinks the authors of the US constitution were appalled by cruel and unusual punishment only if American authorities committed it in North America. In reference to Addington, the Washington Post published an editorial recently calling Cheney the Vice President of torture.Hannah was a point man in spreading the disinformation produced by Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.So, the Veep showing his deep disdain for the American public with these appointments of Libby's replacements. Both of them have so disserved it that they should be made to resign, not promoted.John Stewart was brilliant Monday night on the attempt of the Bush administration to take the spotlight off Libby's damage to national security with its next supreme court nominee. I hope the blogosphere keeps its eyes on the Libby story. And I should think this is an issue that should concern all bloggers, whether on the left or the right. Cheney's and Bush's aides damaged our national security for petty political purposes, and they are making an assault on key provisions in the US constitution.

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      Scooter Libby: Shark Bait
      10.22.05

      Imagine you're I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. I know, it's not easy. It's not easy imagining yourself striding manfully down the corridors of power or plotting the overthrow of tyrants while answering to the name of "Scooter." "Scooter, how's it hangin'?" "Scooter, have to seen the TKA-143 report?" "Scooter, are you going to eat all those fries?" Or, in intimate moments of scalding passion, "Oh, Scooter, Scooter--scooter me like you've never scootered me before!" But let's pretend. You're Scooter Libby, and you're being royally, publicly screwed. Before you had a low profile within the neocon hierarchy and the red-hot circle of the White House decision-making machine. You didn't have the mouthy, controversial profile of a Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz, or the negative rap of a Doug Feith, a.k.a., the dumbest fucking man on the planet. But as Dick Cheney's chief of staff you were in what Seymour Krim called "the High Inside," the hum of power vibrating through your bones, a major player, a force. And now look at you. Your image, hitherto unknown to most of the public, is being flashed regularly on the TV screen like a playing card next to Karl Rove's more familiar babyface. Your names are linked too, as if you've formed a factoidal duo: Rove and Libby, Rove and Libby--which Don Imus has deliberately, mumblingly confused with Hunt and Liddy, two infamous names from the Watergate scandal. It's not enough that you've been implicated in the Valerie Plame investigation, already indicted in the media's mind, but now you're being oiled and seasoned for ritual sacrifice by your former friends and associates in the White House, people you've trusted, people who share your convictions and zeal, but now avert their eyes or tense their smiles in the presence of a dead man walking. There's the gang plank, keep moving, say hello to the sharks. You're not even being treated as a honorable warrior whose crime (if it was a crime) and sin (if it was a sin) was standing up for your boss against that showboating prick Joe Wilson. No, those you've been loyal to are now disloyally sliding the blade into your back and not even allowing you a dignified sacrifice. They've broken the code of silence are leaking like mad to the LA Times (leaking: the perfect euphemism for being pissed on), drawing a lurid portrait of you as a zealous obsessive with an almost homoerotic fixation on Joe Wilson. The blame game has become the frame game. As Josh Marshall wrote today at Talking Points Memo: "This certainly seems like an attempt to pin this whole thing on Libby. "Leaks like that won't affect Fitzgerald; they're not intended to. They're aimed at shaping perceptions of indictments if they come down. If Libby and Rove are indicted, then, yes Rove got caught up in it. And it shouldn't have happened. But the whole unfortunate mess was spawned by the bitter Libby-Wilson antagonsim. It wasn't something that involved the whole White House team, not something characteristic of how it functions. "That would be the argument. "And it's one everyone should have their eyes out for, since the key players in the White House appear to have decided that Libby is already a fatality in this battle." Karl Rove may be the one who more closely resembles Ned Beatty, but you're the one getting oinked in public, and it's not pretty. As Dana Bash reiterated at least three times yesterday on CNN, Rove's side has been putting out their background spin but your camp has been "stone silent." No one's rising or riding to your defense. Along with the shock of betrayal are the blows to your pride. Look at how the press talks about Rove. He's the nervous system of the White House staff, the chief architect of Republican dominance, the 7200 rpm hard drive of the Bush machine, the jolly pirate who guides the ship of state; without Rove, Bush will be reduced to wandering around the White House bumping into walls like a robot on the blink. Rove is considered indispensable, irreplaceable. But you, Scooter? You're being treated as not just dispensable but disposable. Rove is Bush's evil genius. Dick Cheney doesn't need an evil genius. He's his own evil genius. Once your nameplate has been removed from your desk, Burns will simply find himself another Smithers to pledge groveling obedience. Unlike those around you, you don't eat-breathe-drink politics every waking moment. You have a sensitive side, a literary side. You wrote a novel called The Apprentice full of snow and flickering heat, and your letter to Judith Miller waxed poetic about aspens and roots and clusters--a passage everyone's making fun of, trying to decode. Whatever happens in the week ahead, it's clear to everyone that you and Judy tried to play it cute with the special prosecutor, and got caught. So, imagine you're Scooter Libby awaiting the word from the grand jury. Are you going to be the fall guy, the patsy, the designated chump bearing the cross of blame while Rove plays the part of injured bystander? Are you happy at the prospect that your name may soon be a national joke on the lips of every late-nite comedian? Are you going to ignore the humiliation of being hung out to dry by your colleagues and hold your head high in silent stoic resolve? See, I'm imaging that if I'm Scooter Libby, I might be thinking that Karl and his crew overplayed their hand making me the leper, and maybe I've got some things of my own to divulge, and if I go down, maybe I won't be going down alone. They're not going to pin this all on me.

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      White House disputes Italy role in Iraq claim
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 20:31:22 GMT

      The White House on Tuesday disputed accusations that Italian intelligence in a 2002 meeting passed off fake documents, showing Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, that formed part of U.S. President George W. Bush's case for war against Saddam Hussein.

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      Iraq: Running Out of Excuses
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 16:10:42 GMT

      More good news from Iraq in today's NYT The military announced the deaths of seven American soldiers and marines near Baghdad on Monday, making October the fourth deadliest month for troops here since the war began. The attacks brought the number of Americans killed in October to 92, the highest monthly toll since January, when 106 American troops were killed in violence ahead of national elections here. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita tells us not to worry. "We are seeing more powerful capabilities," he said, "but we're getting better at interrupting the enemy's decision cycle, and getting better intelligence that is allowing us to stop more of these things, find more of them." So, we've just had our fourth highest death toll since the fall of Hussein's statue, but we're finding and stopping more attacks? "Curly Joe" Di Rita is running neck and neck with Scott McClellan for the most unbelievable administration spokesperson in Washington. Both mouthpieces, of course, are following the fundamental assumption of their bosses: Simply saying something makes it true--whether it's true or not. These folks truly seem to believe they can spin reality from thin air. # Speaking of the fall of Hussein's statue, you knew that was staged by the U.S. Army, didn't you? Some colonel with a psyops team designated the statue as a "target of opportunity" and used loudspeakers to urge locals in the area to assist. You probably remember the images they showed on American television. They were relatively close shots that gave one the impression the entire square in downtown Baghdad was awash with newly liberated Iraqis. In reality, no more than 150 people were involved. Click here to get the wide-angle view. If you're going to create reality, I guess it helps when you have the cooperation of the U.S. News media. # Not much about our war in Iraq is real except, lamentably, the death, maiming, and destruction. Victory is just around the corner but we may need to "stay the course" indefinitely. We're beating the insurgency even as it gets stronger. The mission has been accomplished at least four times, but there's no telling when we'll accomplish it for the last time. # Everyone wonders what the Iraq strategy really is. I've decided it boils down to this. Bush and the chicken hawks won't leave Iraq until they run out of excuses to stay. But take heart, there's a silver lining. They're running out of excuses. Remember way back when the reason for invading Iraq was about removing Hussein from office and getting rid of his WMD? Well, we got those blocks checked a while back. Remember the talk about a free and democratic Iraq? The constitution's ratified, and an elected government will be in place by Christmas. What then? Stick around and prove we can't defeat the insurgency? No need for that. We've already proven it. Of course, there's the argument that we'll need to stay and ensure none of Iraq's neighbors invade the new democracy. But that's an insane argument. Who in the world--in their right minds or otherwise--wants to repeat what we just went through? Come January, Mister Bush and his very best friends will have to get very, very creative. Whatever excuses they come up with then, they'll have to be good. Read more of Jeff's commentaries at Pen and Sword

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      Seymour Hersh: Fitzgerald 'going to save America'
      Tue, 01 Nov 2005 16:03:18 GMT

      Seymour Hersh, one of journalism's crankier bulldogs, was in an upbeat mood. At least for him. A confidential, well-placed source had told him that U.S. special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's 22-month inquiry into the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of ex-diplomat Joseph Wilson IV, would go further than anyone had heretofore thought. "He's going to save America," Hersh predicted, on the phone from his home in Washington, just days before Fitzgerald announced indictments against I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on Friday. "Because it's not just about Wilson," maintained Hersh, who, as a New York Times reporter in the late 1960s, first blew the lid off the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and, more recently, exposed abuses at Abu Ghraib, the prison west of Baghdad where U.S. forces engaged in torture and humiliation of prisoners. He appears in Toronto tomorrow to speak to the group Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. "Fitzgerald's going deep. He may just unravel the whole conspiracy," continues Hersh, who might be proven right. While Libby resigned after being indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements, Fitzgerald continues to investigate Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's influential deputy chief of staff. All this to determine whether senior White House operatives leaked Valerie Plame's name to select reporters in order to discredit her husband, Wilson. Wilson had previously been dispatched by the Bush administration to Africa to verify reports that Saddam Hussein was buying nuclear technology from Niger, but had found no evidence to support those allegations. In a subsequent op-ed piece in The New York Times, he questioned the legitimacy of America's war in Iraq. But Hersh said last week that the Plame/Wilson affair was only part of the saga. At its heart, the whole conspiracy — in the minds of blue-state Americans that revile the George Bush presidency — encompasses the notion that the Iraq war was planned and orchestrated long before the administration began to build its case for regime change; and that the case it attempted to build, as laid out by former secretary of state Colin Powell to the United Nations, was essentially a fraud (and known to be a fraud). Two thousand U.S. military personnel and tens of thousands of Iraqis have since died in what many would thus consider an illegal war. In Hersh's eyes, anything that might hasten the departure of its chief architects, the hated neocons, would be welcome. "We're so ou

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