Iraq in deep waters
- Iraq's Fallujah, Samarra in deep waters two years after war
Jiang Xiaofeng, Li Jizhi
FALLUJAH/SAMARRA, Iraq, March 20 (Xinhuanet,by Jiang Xiaofeng, Li
Jizhi) -- Two years after theUS-led war on Iraq, urban life in
Iraq's insurgency-ridden Sunni Triangle has been paralyzed due to
the hard-core military operations.
Only a small number of some 200,000 citizens that fled Fallujah
ahead of a US massive assault have returned to the war-battered
city, residing in partially opened neighborhoods and leaving
otherparts occupied by the American troops.
In thousands of refugee camps outside the town, people are still
living off aids and make-shift tents have become children's
"Writers depict the hardships of Fallujans and reporters coverour
misfortunes, but nobody can feel the pain the kids are suffering
except themselves," lamented Suad Mohamed Mustafa,headmistress of
the Wathba high school for girls.
"Students are not supposed to miss their lessons despite thetragic
events. Thus, we rented tents for them," Mustafa told Xinhuain a
shabby tent used as her dean office.
But the children's schooling are accompanied with coldness,darkness
and even diseases.
"When it rains, the tents could turn into a mess and diseasesspread
quickly," said Mustafa, "but no teacher gives a damn despite the
"I have difficulties in taking lessons with more than 25 students
inside a tent originally designed for 10," said 12-year-old Azhar
"It's like hell, but what you gonna do? To idle away a whole year is
no option," said the child.
"I have asthma and the tent would not protect us from cold.
Isuffocate continuously due to the bad ventilation," complained Nuha
Mahmood, who is 14.
She recalled that her classmate Mays Hassan was sitting near the
blackboard in the front row one day when a storm came and the
falling board hit right on her head. She was transferred to hospital
Situations are no better in Samarra, another once rebel-controlled
city that had been stormed by US and Iraqi forces last summer.
The city, 110 km north of Baghdad, boasted a golden-domedmosque,
home to a Muslim holy shrine, and the spiral minaret, a trademark
historic structure in Iraq.
Since the bloodshed, the once busy industrial city has become one of
the deprived areas in Iraq, as business has come into a virtual
stalemate and citizens can hardly find enough necessities in local
Haunted by bomb attacks and assassinations, the city's streets are
void of civilian cars starting around 19:00 (1600 GMT) every
evening, making the night in Samarra one of the longest in
Iraq.Beside the damaged shops and residence houses, schools and
government buildings were occupied by US and Iraqi troops as front
bases. Reflection of light from gun battles were noticeablyvisible.
Residents have begun to flee the city and take refuge in countryside.
It takes hours before one gets through all the three checkpoints to
"We are here to prevent weapons from reaching the terrorists holed
up in the city," said an officer of the Iraqi National Guardsas he
was searching a car at one of the checkpoints.
"The added-up errors by the American administration and the
coalition authorities contributed to the deterioration of the
situation of Samarra," Abdullah Hussein Jibbara, the governor of
Salahuldeen, told Xinhua.
In Samarra, many schools used as polling centers were bombed onJan.
30, and only about 3,000 out of the 100,000 eligible votershad their
ballots cast that day.
"The low turnout shows that Samarrans are alienated by the Iraqi
government and the American forces," said a blacksmith in the city's
The Sunni Triangle in central northern Iraq has been the major
headache for the US forces and Iraq's security authority in the past
two years. General resentment against Americans in the vastarea has
fueled the country-wide insurgency and provided hotbeds for
international terror networks.
Following raids and all-out offensives, US and Iraqi officials
believe the militant groups have moved from Fallujah and Samarra to
Mosul, Iraq's third largest city in the northern end of the
Iraq: The Trail of Disinformation
What Really Happened
March 20, 2005
Let's start with a simple fact. The United States invaded and
conquered Iraq on the basis of lies. Even the official report of the
United States Senate admits as much
So, where did all this bad information come from? While the culprits
would like to pin the blame on the Central Intelligence Agency, the
facts point in a different direction. To cite just one example, the
now-discredited claim that Saddam was trying to buy "Yellow Cake"
Uranium from Niger came from the Pentagon, specifically from Paul
Wolfowitz < http://www.antiwar.com/orig/leopold.php?articleid=1913
>, using information the CIA stated was unreliable. Wolfowitz, andhis assistant Douglas Feith, set up a special office called
the "Office of Special Plans" in 2001, that fed information to the
White House to urge the attack on Iraq. Shortly after the invasion,
the OSP was disbanded.
So, the trail of the lies that started a war goes from the White
House, to the Pentagon, to the Office of Special Plans. But where
was the OSP getting their information? Clearly, they were not using
information provided by the CIA, or the CIA would not have denounced
their cources as "unreliable". According to some reports, the OSP
was using "consultants" who came from outside the Pentagon and
operated with no oversight or accountability! < http://rightweb.irc-
The Office of Special Plans operated on its own, off the official
payroll and away from Congressional oversight <
According to several sources, it was the information given out by
the Office of Special Plans that Dick Cheney "encouraged" the CIA to
adopt! So where does the trail lead from the OSP?
As it turns out, the OSP was getting their information from
primarily two sources. The first was Ahmed Chalabi, the bank
embezzler who would be king and didn't care how it came about <
The second, and more damning source, is the office of the Prime
Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon! As the Office of Special Plans
poured out the lies that led to war, Israeli officers, up to the
rank of General, were repeatedly escorted inside the Pentagon to the
Office of Special Plans <
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0807-02.htm >. At no time
were they required to sign in!
Douglas Feith would then take this information, despite CIA doubts
about the credibility of the claims, into private briefings at the
White House that bypassed CIA <
/11/wsept11.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/11/ixnewstop.html ... >. In
some cases, the CIA was unaware of Feith's private briefings until
the OSP information became part of White House public policy.
So, this is the trail of the lies that started a war, beginning at
the White House, and via Dick Cheney moving upstream to the
Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, under Wolfowitz and Feith, then
from OSP to an parallel group operating out of Ariel Sharon's office
That's the trail.
UPDATE: As of this writing, a staffer within the Office of Special
Plans has been outed as a spy for Israel. While Israel officially
denies spying (as it did for 13 years following the arrest of
Jonathan Pollard), and the US Government downplays the importance of
this individual, the fact remains that this Israeli spy sat right on
the information piepline feeding false claims about Iraq into the
White House. The focus on the Iranian documents going TO Israel is
the limited hangout concealing the darker secret of bogus
Iraqi "Intelligence" flowing FROM Israel into the White House war
UPDATE 2: United States Attorney General John Ashcroft has ordered
the FBI to halt the investigation and arrests of the Israeli spy
See also: Iraq: The Words of Mass Deception:
50000 GIs in Iraq with serious medical conditions
The Sun-Herald - Liberty Forum
March 20, 2005 - Two years after the invasion of Iraq the rate of
US soldiers being killed is averaging 18 a week, almost double the
rate in the first year after the war.
The country is far more dangerous than 12 months ago, say security
experts, and reconstruction has slowed to a crawl.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 US military personnel are in Iraq despite
serious medical conditions that should have ruled them out of
combat, according to the National Gulf War Resource Centre. The GI
Rights Hotline, which counsels troops, says it fielded 32,000 calls
last year from soldiers seeking an exit from the military, or
suffering from post-combat stress.
Others vote with their feet. Last year the Pentagon admitted that
5500 of its forces had gone AWL, although it claims many returned to
their units after resolving personal crises.
At the same time that Kevin Benderman's unit was called up for a
second tour in Iraq with the US Third Infantry Division, two
soldiers tried to kill themselves and another had a relative shoot
him in the leg. Seventeen went AWL or ran off to Canada, and
Sergeant Benderman, whose family has sent a son to every war since
the American revolution, defied his genes and nine years of military
training and followed his conscience.
As the division packed its gear to leave Fort Stewart, Georgia,
Sergeant Benderman applied for a discharge as a conscientious
objector - an act seen as a betrayal by many in his unit.
Although they may not be part of any organised anti-war movement,
the conscientious objectors, runaways and other irregular protesters
suggest that, two years on, the Iraq mission is taking a heavy toll.
Just 93 Australian civilians are now in Iraq, a third of the number
that were there a year ago, as corporations, aid agencies and
government departments decide the personal risk is too great.
A total of 284 Australian troops are in Baghdad with another 400
RAAF at air bases in the region and 22 sailors on board HMAS Darwin
in the Persian Gulf. Another 450 troops will start arriving around
Anzac Day to protect Japanese troops doing reconstruction work in
Prime Minister John Howard last week refused to rule out sending
even more troops after Italy said it would start pulling out.
Despite the hopeful sign of so many Iraqis turning out to vote, most
of those with hands-on experience of what is going on there despair
for the future.
"I was there for the elections and a little afterwards and it is
worse now than it has ever been," said former SAS soldier and
security operator Paul Jordan of AKE Australia. "Every time I go
there it is more restricted than before," said Mr Jordan, who does
security protection for media and business people visiting Iraq.
"The average Iraqi is worse off now than before the war. Iraqis are
as much a target for kidnappings and crime as foreigners."
Dr Michael Humphrey of the University of NSW said not many Iraqis
would feel they benefited from the war. He said Shiites could seek
revenge for decades of repression and that would mean years of
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