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Old 04-17-2004, 06:49 PM   #1
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Is Iraq spinning out of control?
Warnings ignored, says retired Marine
By Rick Rogers
April 16, 2004

Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni wondered aloud yesterday how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be caught off guard by the chaos in Iraq that has killed nearly 100 Americans in recent weeks and led to his announcement that 20,000 U.S. troops would be staying there instead of returning home as planned.

"I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus," said Zinni, a Marine for 39 years and the former commander of the U.S. Central Command. "Anyone could know the problems they were going to see. How could they not?"
The failure in Iraq is even deeper than people imagine

It has taken incompetence of a high order for the US to become so isolated in Iraq

Patrick Cockburn

17 April 2004 -- It is astonishing how fast the American position in Iraq has unravelled over the past two weeks. Two experiences - one peaceful, the other violent - summed up for me the extent of the US débâcle. It is far worse than is generally appreciated outside Iraq.
was driving along a main highway in south Baghdad when we stopped and talked to half a dozen young men. They were Shia pilgrims, dressed in black and carrying a green religious banner, on a three-day march to the holy city of Kerbala to attend a religious festival. The pilgrims said they used to walk secretly to Kerbala under Saddam Hussein, but now "the Americans have become as bad as Saddam". One was wearing a badge with the face of Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shia cleric.

I did not find any of this very new or surprising, since anti-American sentiments are common enough in Iraq, until I asked the men if they had jobs. They said politely that they were all soldiers in the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps, one of the paramilitary bodies the US has been training with desperate speed over the last year to replace American soldiers. "We will certainly fight for Muqtada if our religious leaders tell us to," said one of the marchers.

Across Iraq in the last fortnight, the US army has discovered to its horror that the 200,000 men in police, paramilitary and army units are not prepared to fight for the US against fellow Iraqis. An army battalion mutinied rather than go to Fallujah. In the cities of the south, the police melted away, often handing over their weapons to Sadr's Army of the Mehdi. ...

What the UN Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi Actually Said

And Was Unreported By the Major U.S. Media

Sam Hamod

04/17/04 "ICH" -- Dr. Lakhdar Brahimi, made very clear in his statements after meetings with Iraqi and American leaders in Iraq that Mr. Bremer and U.S. Military officers had inflamed the situation in Iraq and they had best change their ways. He pointed out that Iraqis were tired of the American arrests of people without charges, holding them without trials, torturing and brutalizing people who were under arrest, and often killing those they arrested. He also pointed out that Bremer was wrong to shut down Al Sadr's newspaper; it was an undemocratic thing to do, and further that he had no valid reason for going after Al Sadr and that the attacks on Fallujah were criminal and against international law because of the targeting of civilians, ambulances and sanitation and electrical infrastructure. As far as Brahimi was concerned, the American behavior had been a disaster for the Iraqi people and had alienated the Iraqi people and turned them against America and it's alleged quest to establish democracy. He also said that the puppet "governing council" should be totally disbanded and replaced by a popularly elected president, two vice presidents and a parliament or a congress, with America staying out of the picture and withdrawing as soon as possible so that the UN could come in and clean up the mess the Americans had made. Of course, he put matters in more diplomatic language than this, but those were his main points. ...

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Old 04-18-2004, 06:47 PM   #2
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Zinni spoke in my city Friday night.

I have some friends who went, it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.

I had to miss it.

I had an opportunity to see the 14th Dalhi Lama instead.

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Old 04-18-2004, 06:53 PM   #3
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Did you get to see the Dalhi Lama Ethics special on TV?
I would have loved to have been there in person how lucky.
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Old 04-18-2004, 07:01 PM   #4
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This was printed in the newspaper in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Not exactly a hotbed of lefty polical views. Folks, Democrats do not carry this state in Presidential elections that they win.
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Old 04-18-2004, 07:02 PM   #5
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i attended this event

and had to miss Zinni here

Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series

"The American Military: Readiness, War and Peacekeeping"

General Anthony Zinni

Friday, April 16 at 7pm

Retired four-star Marine General Anthony C. Zinni was the former Commander-in-Chef for US Central Command, who also served as Presidential Special Adviser and was the Middle East Peace Diplomatic Envoy for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will speak his views on contemporary American military forces confronting the world’s ‘hot spots’. He is a decorated Vietnam War veteran with a background in military training, special operations, and counter-terrorism. His record of service for the past three decades includes America’s most troublesome missions including both active warfare and peacekeeping in Russia, Northern Iraq, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf regions. He led diplomatic peacemaking efforts between the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian Authority. Voicing expert opinion on the war against terrorism and conflict in Iraq, General Zinni will offer a comprehensive assessment of current American military policy.
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:44 PM   #6
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To read Robert Fisk and many others on the ground I think we are being sold a whitewashed representation of what's really happening.
Even the Archbishop of Canteberry is advocating civil disobedience if things don't shape up.,00.html

Archbishop rounds on Government over Iraq war

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, today launched a powerful and unprecedented attack on the Government over its policy in Iraq.

He accused Tony Blair and his ministers of rushing into the war, of not being sufficiently truthful and of creating "a weakening of trust in the political system of our nation".

Arguing that trust could be restored by the admission of error or miscalculation, Dr Williams even made a case for civil disobedience, arguing that political obedience in our age has become "problematic". Anglican theologians have never sanctioned compliance with "unjust law", he said.

Dr Williams was preaching the university sermon at St Benet’s Church, Cambridge. The sermon was endowed by John Mere, a fellow of Corpus Christi, more than four centuries ago to teach "due obedyence of the subjectes to their princyes".

Dr Williams has often made clear that, along with with nearly all religious leaders in Britain, he was opposed to the war in Iraq, but he has never before been openly critical of the present Government on this or any other policy.

Invited two years ago to deliver the Mere Commemoration sermon, he has been developing his argument for some months in the light of the events of last year.

While appearing to advocate civil disobedience, sources close to him made clear that this should only occur in the most extreme circumstances and the UK was not yet at that point.

The example he used in his sermon was of the American civil rights movement. Dr Williams said that Christian political obedience must rest on confidence in a government's capacity for attention.

He condemned the "idle and selfish hearts" of those who advocate Christian obedience while themselves being slow to bring their own thoughts "under obedience to Christ".

Dr Williams said: "Part of the continuing damage to our political health in this country has to do with a sense of the events of the last year on the international scene being driven by something other than attention.

"There were things government believed it knew and claimed to know on a privileged basis which, it emerged, were anything but certain. There were things which regional experts and others knew which seemed not to have received attention."

Dr Williams, a former lecturer in divinity at Cambridge, addressing a congregation of academics, clerics and students, continued: "Forgetting the melodramatic language of public deception, which is often just another means of not attending to what is difficult and takes time to fathom, the evidence suggests to many that obedience to a complex truth suffered from a sense of urgency that made attention harder."

He indicated that the Government had, by its behaviour over Iraq, lost its right to obedience from its citizens.

"We do not usually look in our rulers for signs of advanced contemplative practice. Nor do we say, even as Christians, that no obedience is due to unbelieving governments.

"But we do say that credible claims on our political loyalty have something to do with a demonstrable attention truth, even unwelcome truth."

Dr Williams continued: "A government that habitually ignored expert advice, habitually pressed its interests abroad in ways that ignored manifest needs and priorities in the wider human and non-human environment, habitually repressed criticism or manipulated public media, such a regime would, to say the least, jeopardise its claim too obedience because it was refusing attention."

Such a government "would be concerned finally about control and no more, and so would be a threat to its citizens and others".

Making the case for an apology from the Government or at least an admission of error, he said: "Governments, of whatever kind, restore lost trust above all by their willingness to attend to what lies beyond the urgency of asserting control and retaining visible and simple initiative, by patient accountability and the freedom to think again, even to admit error or miscalculation.

"Happy the person or the government that can simply find the right, the inevitable gesture that fully fits the truth of circumstances as gracefully as the scoring of a goal."

Dr Williams said Christian obedience must be an "intelligent obedience" that involved a careful questioning.

"Whatever may have been the theology of obedience in past ages, we cannot now ignore the democratisation of knowledge and the deepened awareness of how ideological distortions may be sustained in public life."

He said it was right that claims for obedience should be tested fairly, although not out of a corrosive cynicism about power.
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Old 04-28-2004, 06:57 PM   #7
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The Choice Of Negroponte, Who Oversaw Our Central American Policy During the Death Squad Days, Shows Bush’s Determination To Use Brutality To Subdue – A Formula That Never Has Worked

by Samuel A. Stanson

April 20, 2004 – As the Baltimore Sun (see: ) reported back on June 18, 1995:

"Time and again during his tour of duty in Honduras from 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was confronted with evidence that a Honduran army intelligence unit, trained by the CIA, was stalking, kidnapping, torturing and killing suspected subversives."

But not only did John Dimitri Negroponte, during his reign as the US Ambassador to Honduras, not take action to deal with the situation, but, under his watch, evidence and information regarding the abuses was kept from Congress. Instead, reports on the human rights situation were falsified.

As the Sun reported:

"’There are no political prisoners in Honduras,’ the State Department asserted falsely in its 1983 human rights report.

"The reports to Congress were carefully crafted to convey the impression that the Honduran government and military were committed to democratic ideals."

As the UK’s Guardian (see:,00.html )reports, Negroponte was, "linked with the illegal contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua."

The Guardian reports that Negroponte’s predecessor as Ambassador to Honduras states, "Negroponte would have had to be deliberately blind not to know about human rights violations..." He said that upon his departure, he prepared a briefing book for Negroponte on the situation to prepare him for his position, and that briefing contained a warning about the, "escalation of human rights issues."

But after Negroponte stepped in, all of the human rights violations and abuses were cleansed from the public record, and, in fact, the groups trained by the US were among those reportedly most guilty of the violations.

One of his aides during the time, Rick Chidester, told the Sun that he had heard, "allegations about vans coming up to police cells and taking out people they [the Honduran military] didn't want ... and shooting them… I had allegations that, as part of the interrogation techniques, torture was being used."

He included the allegations, which he said, "came from too many credible sources to be ignored," in his draft of the 1982 human rights report to be submitted to Congress. All of this information was removed from the final report.

Even an incident that John Negroponte knew of from direct involvement, the abduction of a journalist and his wife, who were, "locked in secret cell for a week, and beaten and tortured with electric shocks," was not included in the report. Instead, as the Sun reports, "the1982 report asserted: ‘No incident of official interference with the media has been recorded for several years.’"

It was one thing when, upon taking office in 2001, President Bush made this man our Ambassador to the UN – where he has served until now. That was merely a massive insult and affront to human rights and the people of Central America who had suffered the massive abuses that Negroponte reigned over and covered for.

But now, America must realize what his appointment as our new Ambassador to Iraq means for what is about to happen over there.

As one man whose son had been abducted in Central America under Negroponte's watch by the very group the US had trained - Battalion 316 - presciently said back then, after desperately trying to get anyone on Negroponte's team to help with the situation to no avail, "We felt like we were screaming in the desert. No one heard us. No one would help us."

"…screaming in the desert."

Well, he was screaming, but not in the desert. But for the people of Iraq, that’s exactly what is about to be.

Negroponte has proven himself as the go-to-guy when you want to forget human rights and pound down on a people with an iron fist and have it all covered up for you.

As Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch told the Guardian, "When John Negroponte was ambassador he looked the other way when serious atrocities were committed. One would have to wonder what kind of message the Bush administration is sending about human rights by this appointment (as Ambassador to the UN.)"

Now, one must do more than just wonder what this man’s appointment to the Iraq post means for the people of Iraq.

As it has been shown that Iraq did not have the WMD’s the President had used to lead us to war in Iraq, the administration has fallen back more and more upon justifying the war based on Saddam’s reign of terror and human rights violations.

But now, as it is an election year and the President wants the Iraqi insurgents quieted, he is appointing a man who, in the past, has shown he will allow and cover for, if not help provide for the facilitation of, the most grotesque human rights violations imaginable for the furtherance of US foreign policy.

Negroponte’s record is clear. You can read a more in depth summary in this excellent article written for New Republic by Sally Wildman (see: ) which tells how, under Negroponte’s watch, "the Honduran government (was) guilty of ‘engaging in a practice and policy of systematic and gross human rights violations including disappearances, extrajudicial execution, and torture,’" and Negroponte’s "commitment to America's policy of silence," with regard to covering up the abuses.

The need for silencing and squelching the opposition groups with brutal tactics that the public never hears about now exists in Iraq as it once did in Central America.

Negroponte’s appointment as Ambassador to Iraq is a horrible, horrible occurrence, and shows what is next in the Iraq War for America. We asked the question a long time ago, (see: )and it is more pertinent now than ever: has Saddam been replaced with nothing more than a Saddam who happens to reside in Washington? The use of Negroponte clearly shows that success in Iraq - or anywhere else - is impossible under the Bush administration. Their complete lack of morality, integrity, and disregard for human rights, their Israel-like fixation on force, force, and nothing but brutal force, and complete lack of understanding that the only way to win over a people is to win over a people - not torture and kill them - is a clear indication of a basic lack of understanding as to how the world, the people in it, and foreign policy works. Quite simply, the Bush administration must be replaced by one that values human rights and understands diplomacy if success is to happen in Iraq.

And a note to the ball-less Democratic Party: Why is your candidate not making this a huge issue, especially with the Latin vote such a big issue – and quite simply with the moral imperative of this? And yes, John Kerry is very familiar with all of this, as he was one of the people who led the charge against Reagan’s policies in Central American in the 1980’s.

Which proves once again that only Moderate Independents seem to actually care about things like morality and taking stands on useful issues. The rest of the nation either sits by idly in ignorance or knowingly does nothing as we our nation, yet again under the Bush family's guidance, sets on a course than can only come back to bite us horribly in the future - not to mention is an appauling abomination of everything to do with decency and basic human values.

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