Iraq a mess, says minister Howells

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Iraq a mess, says minister Howells

Post by Alien_UK » 03-11-2006 07:57 AM

Iraq a mess, says minister Howells

A foreign office minister has admitted that Iraq is "a mess" but insisted the prospects of a successful future were better than reports suggested.

Kim Howells, who is visiting the country to examine the oil industry, played down the prospects of civil war and praised the enthusiasm of ordinary Iraqis for change.

The outspoken minister also dismissed the complaints of neo-Conservative thinkers in the United States - dubbing them "swivel-eyed right-wing Americans" who should be ignored.

"People describe Iraq as a mess," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"But it is a mess that can't launch an attack now on Iran; a mess that won't be able to march into Kuwait; it's a mess that can't develop nuclear weapons. So yes it's a mess but it's starting to look like the sort of mess that most of us live in."

The country was undergoing a "very, very painful process" but the reality he had experienced on the ground did not reflect the headlines seen in the UK, he insisted.

"I have been hearing that civil war was going to break out that evening or the following morning for as long as I can remember now and it hasn't happened.

"We have got to have some trust in the Iraqi people to understand, as they certainly do, that those who are trying to promote civil war, through their suicide bombings and their kidnapping and the rest of the terrible tactics, are there for a particular purpose.

"We can't hold up our arms and run off for all kinds of reasons; we've got to stand up against them.

"I think people are much more determined than that to try and make sure Zarqawi and his bombers and the rest of them don't in fact allow Iraq to become split up and they want to see the economy a success and it is improving quite significantly now."

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.

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Last updated: 11-Mar-06 12:14 GMT

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Post by Alien_UK » 03-11-2006 08:00 AM

GOP, Democrats agree on likelihood of civil war

WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats have found something about Iraq to agree on: The country is probably headed into civil war.

An AP-Ipsos poll indicated an overwhelming majority of Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats, say a civil war is likely in Iraq.

"I can see why we went in there, but I look at it as a hopeless cause," said Mary Jo McCarthy of Medina, Ohio, who leans Republican. "The president is committed to doing what is right, and those people want to have a democracy, but there are so many radicals over there."

The poll said that almost four of every five Americans think it is likely that Iraq is heading toward civil war.

Violence in Iraq has risen since the destruction of a 1,200-year-old shrine in Samarra in late February. That terrorist attack sparked hundreds of killings in the next week, followed by deadly explosions, kidnappings and execution-style killings. Iraqi leaders are still struggling to form a government.

Bush's job approval has dipped back to 37 percent, his lowest rating in the AP poll, at a time of high anxiety about Iraq, doubts about Hurricane Katrina and a debate about ports security.

Fewer Americans consider Bush likable, honest, strong and dependable than they did just after he won re-election.

The poll also said that Democrats have an 11-point edge over Republicans when people are asked who they want to control of Congress.

Bush is beginning a series of speeches Monday to convince Americans that the United States is on the right path to defeat terrorists and insurgents in Iraq three years after U.S. troops invaded in March 2003.

In a midterm election year, nervous GOP leaders are rushing to distance themselves from Bush on a range of issues, including ports security, immigration, spending, warrantless eavesdropping and trade.

Democrats and Republicans differ sharply in their views of the president, the economy and even the direction of the country, but they are unified in their fears about Iraq's future.

In fact, those concerns about a civil war are spread across most groups in the population: men and women, people of all ages, Whites and minorities, rich and poor, according to the telephone poll of 1,000 adults.

The survey was conducted Monday through Wednesday and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The Iraq questions, asked of half of the sample, had a 5 percentage point margin of error.

Despite the high anxiety about Iraq, views about the country's long-term prospects have not changed much over the past year.

People are evenly divided on the prospects for a stable, democratic government in Iraq, the poll said.

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Post by spiritme » 03-14-2006 03:16 PM

A New Set of Downing Street Memos (1 comments )
READ MORE: 2006, Saddam Hussein
The Guardian of London has unearthed yet more reports from UK government officials to Tony Blair's office "that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq" in May and June 2003. John Sawers, Blair's envoy in Baghdad at the time and now political director at the UK's Foreign Office, "described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as 'an unbelievable mess' and said 'Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals' were 'well-meaning but out of their depth'."

That assessment is reinforced by Major General Albert Whitley, the most senior British officer with the US land forces. Gen Whitley, in another memo later that summer, expressed alarm that the US-British coalition was in danger of losing the peace. "We may have been seduced into something we might be inclined to regret. Is strategic failure a possibility? The answer has to be 'yes'," he concluded.

Sawers' first memo, "Iraq: What's Going Wrong," on May 11, 2003, said of the US administration: "No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis." The Guardian highlights what it calls the "mistakes" of those initial days that "contained the seeds of the present insurgency and anarchy."

· A lack of interest by the US commander, General Tommy Franks, in the post-invasion phase.

· The presence in the capital of the US Third Infantry Division, which took a heavyhanded approach to security.

· Squandering the initial sympathy of Iraqis.

· Bechtel, the main US civilian contractor, moving too slowly to reconnect basic services, such as electricity and water.

· Failure to deal with health hazards, such as 40% of Baghdad's sewage pouring into the Tigris and rubbish piling up in the streets.

· Sacking of many of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party, even though many of them held relatively junior posts.

That story has been getting a lot of play in UK and Australian press, but not here. And then there's the UK soldier's point of view, reported by the conservative newspaper, The Telegraph of London. After a three-month stint in Iraq, Special Air Service counter-terrorist specialist Ben Griffin quit the Army rather than return to Iraq and fight alongside American forces. He told the Telegraph:

I saw a lot of things in Baghdad that were illegal or just wrong. I knew, so others must have known, that this was not the way to conduct operations if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of the local population. And if you don't win the hearts and minds of the people, you can't win the war.
If we were on a joint counter-terrorist operation, for example, we would radio back to our headquarters that we were not going to detain certain people because, as far as we were concerned, they were not a threat because they were old men or obviously farmers, but the Americans would say "no, bring them back."

The Americans had this catch-all approach to lifting suspects. The tactics were draconian and completely ineffective. The Americans were doing things like chucking farmers into Abu Ghraib [the notorious prison in Baghdad where US troops abused and tortured Iraqi detainees] or handing them over to the Iraqi authorities, knowing full well they were going to be tortured.

The Americans had a well-deserved reputation for being trigger happy. In the three months that I was in Iraq, the soldiers I served with never shot anybody. When you asked the Americans why they killed people, they would say "we were up against the tough foreign fighters." I didn't see any foreign fighters in the time I was over there.

I can remember coming in off one operation which took place outside Baghdad, where we had detained some civilians who were clearly not insurgents, they were innocent people. I couldn't understand why we had done this, so I said to my troop commander "would we have behaved in the same way in the Balkans or Northern Ireland?" He shrugged his shoulders and said "this is Iraq," and I thought "and that makes it all right?"

As far as I was concerned that meant that because these people were a different colour or a different religion, they didn't count as much. You can not invade a country pretending to promote democracy and behave like that.
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 03-17-2006 11:09 AM

The problem is not the lack of trying to get electric and water and such to the people -- but with the snipers who keep shooting at those who are TRYING to get work done. The insurgeants who - as shown on tv news keep blowing up water wells.

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Iraqi People Hopeless in 3rd Year of Occupation

Post by SETIsLady » 03-19-2006 09:54 AM

By M. Alihan Hasanoglu, Cihan News Agency, Bagdat (Baghdad)
Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006

The situation of Iraq and the Iraqi people is still ambiguous on the 3rd anniversary of the Iraqi occupation that the US realized on claims that weapons of mass destruction existed in the country. The US had promised to bring democracy to Iraq with the occupation.

The country is far from the wealth and democracy that the US promised to bring before the Iraq war. The people are concerned and hopeless most about the inability to maintain security in the country. While dozens of people lose their lives in violent incidents every day, the recent Shiite-Sunni tension is dragging the country to a civil war. The Iraqi people are at such a point that they miss the days of Saddam’s era and they demand the end of occupation, which makes their life even harder. The ethnic and sectarian division is seen as the biggest obstacle before the democratic structure in Iraq.

Although more than three months have passed over the last Iraqi elections, the parties are still arguing over establishing the government. The weapons of mass destruction, which was shown as the ground of “Iraqi Liberation Operation”, still could not be found in the country as Iraqi was shaken by intelligence scandals concerning the war. During this period, public support for the Iraqi war and the popularity of President George W. Bush declined by half.

Bloodshed in Iraq has been increasing since the Iraqi occupation started in 2003. While there has been an increase in the number of attacks, which were supposed to decrease with the political process, 75 incidents occur in the country on average every day. Independent sources remark that more than 100,000 civilians lost their lives in three years while a web-site named “iraqbodycount” report that the death toll is 34-38,000. The number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war reached 2,317. The most dreadful matter in Iraq is the “civil war” threat, which reached the climax with the bombardment of a Shiite military tomb in Samarra. The mosques were set on fire in the clashes occurring after the bombardment, resulting in the death of hundreds of people. In an aim to settle the incidents, the American army launched the biggest operation in Samarra in which 50 helicopters and 200 armored vehicles participated.

Public Effort to Drive off US Military

The number of people suffering from a nationwide famine has doubled since the Saddam Hussein period, officials said. The United States-led invasion of Iraq has brought with it starvation instead of affluence, divergence instead of democracy, the Iraqis told Cihan News Agency when they pressed a demand for the United States military to leave. Salim Jabir, an Iraqi who is dismayed to see no progress in the last three years, expressed his disappointment as follows: “The situation is growing worse. We had different expectations. We thought life would be better. We anticipated having self-confidence, and we actually looked to the future with high expectations. The United States administration has done nothing for us for the past three years now. The United States military brought us blood and tears only.” The Iraqi women suffered a lot during the war in Iraq, said Yanar Mohammed, head of the Iraqi Association for Women. Women comprised 40 percent of the national population of workers in 1980, said Mohammed: “It is now clear to us what has happened to the country.” Abdullah Abbas, another Iraqi disappointed at being fooled by broken promises for more wealth, said the United States military does not regard the Iraqis at all.

Bush’s rating dropped by 30 percent

In Iraq, where two elections and one constitution referendum was held last year, the assembly could hold its first meeting only three months after the elections and carried on initiations to form a national unity government. Ensuring security, deciding on federation, resolving the Kirkuk problem, and petroleum revenue are the issues awaiting the Iraqi assembly while it has not agreed on who will be the president of the assembly yet. The leading party in the assembly Shia United Iraqi Alliance is resolute against the reactions of Kurds and Sunnis reappointing Ibrahim al-Jaafari as the prime minister. Kurds agreed to nominate Talabani for presidency while the Sunnites are still discussing whom to nominate for assembly presidency.

The Bush administration, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and launched the “liberation operation,” has experienced hard days for three years. American public support to Bush was 67 percent in 2003, when the war first started, while now it is around 37 percent as a result of the scandals. At the beginning, 70 percent of the American people supported the war, but it dropped to 29 percent. The soldier death toll along with the increasing cost of war is said to have affected the drop. It is noted that the war costs the US $6 billion semiannually. ... 9&hn=31068
Last edited by SETIsLady on 03-19-2006 09:58 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by spiritme » 03-20-2006 06:40 AM

VII. Two elite soldiers, one in the British Army and one in the American Navy, have resigned their positions and/or turned in all insignia, based upon their revulsion with President Bush's war policy.

NEWS BRIEF: "Letter to President Bush: Navy Officer Turns In All Medals, Insignia", Truthout News, Saturday 04 March 2006

"Dear Mr. President: As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the US Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the USS Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn "to protect and defend". Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the Constitution and principles of our oath ... I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator's wings."

"Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to "disappear" them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a US Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a "signing statement" that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name."

"As a citizen, a patriot, a parent and grandparent, a lawyer and law teacher I am left with such a feeling of loss and helplessness. I think of myself as a good American and I ask myself what can I do when I see the face of evil? Illegal and immoral war, torture and confinement for life without trial have never been part of our Constitutional tradition ... Protests are limited to your "free speech zones", out of sight of the parade. Even speaking openly is to risk being labeled un-American, pro-terrorist or anti-troops. And I am a disciplined pacifist, so any violent act is out of the question.

"Nevertheless, to remain silent is to let you think I approve or support your actions. I do not. So, I am saddened to give up my wings and bars. They were hard won and my parents and wife were as proud as I was when I earned them over forty years ago. But I hate the torture and death you have caused more than I value their symbolism. Giving them up makes me cry for my beloved country.'

We can only hope that this soldier's courageous action will be mired millions of times over. Then, our boys might come home and the world's plunge into the abyss known as the New World Order might be halted.

A British soldier felt much the same way. However, his protest actions stem from horrific events he witnessed on the ground in Iraq.

NEWS BRIEF: "British SAS soldier refuses to fight in Iraq: Cites "illegal" tactics of US troops and the policies of coalition forces", The Age (Australia), March 13, 2006

"A BRITISH SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the army over the 'illegal' tactics of US troops and the policies of coalition forces.

After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces. He said he had witnessed 'dozens of illegal acts' by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as 'untermenschen' - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. The decision sets a remarkable precedent, marking the first time a Special Air Service soldier has refused to go into combat and quit on moral grounds. Mr Griffin's allegations came as British Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells, visiting Basra on Saturday, admitted that Iraq was now 'a mess'."

"Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger-happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He said many innocent civilians were arrested in night raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison or handed over to Iraqi authorities and probably tortured. Mr Griffin told SAS commanders at the regiment's base in Hereford, England, that he could not take part in a war that he regarded as illegal. He now believed that Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British Government had repeatedly lied over the war's conduct."

What is that popular saying? The only way tyrants can succeed is if good men do nothing.

this was on
A shot of truth with that there ale mate!

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Post by spiritme » 03-29-2006 04:46 PM

US admits attack target contained a mosque
By Francis Harris in Washington
(Filed: 29/03/2006)

Iraqi and American special forces who attacked an insurgent headquarters in Baghdad were not aware that their target contained a mosque until after the battle, America's most senior soldier said yesterday.

General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was responding to 48 hours of unremitting criticism over the controversial raid, which Iraqi radicals claim resulted in the deaths of 21 unarmed worshippers and an imam.

A video grab shows bodies on the floor of the mosque

The admission that US and Iraqi forces had entered a compound housing a religious site will stoke Arab fury.

But America's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, branded accusations of a massacre "a lie" and said the operation had resulted in the freeing of a hostage and the capture of weapons including rocket-propelled grenades. "Those are not religious instruments," he commented.

Gen Pace said that the operation had been led by Iraqi special forces, although it included American special forces seeking to track down a Shia terrorist base where kidnap victims were held.

As they approached a large rectangular building they came under heavy fire. "The Iraqi forces themselves went into the main target areas. This is the building inside of which, once they got in there, they found a small minaret and a prayer room … [which] some people are calling a mosque," Gen Pace said.

Pictures issued by Moqtada al-Sadr's radical Shia militia purported to show bodies lying on the floor of the room. Gen Pace said he did not know if American forces had fired during the operation, or whether the dead were killed in the room.

The new version of events appeared to contradict earlier US military accounts that suggested that Sadr's men had moved corpses to make it appear that the Americans had desecrated a religious site. But Mr Rumsfeld was unapologetic about the hesitant and belated account.

"The US government has not got to the point where we are as deft and clever and facile and quick as the enemy that is perfectly capable of lying, having it printed all over the world, and there's no penalty for having lied."

Pictures of the corpses temporarily stalled talks on forming a new Iraqi government.

President Jalal Talabani has demanded that those "responsible" be punished and the governor of Baghdad said he had cut all ties to US forces.

The walled compound is a former Ba'ath party building, known to have been taken over by radical militiamen.

28 March 2006: Shia fury as Americans are blamed for murders at mosque
27 March 2006: US soldiers accused of mosque deaths

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can it get any am not so sure I live in the US anymore and I certainly do not know who I am.....!

A shot of truth with that there ale mate!

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Post by Corvid » 03-29-2006 05:31 PM

"Dear Mr. President: As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the US Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the USS Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn "to protect and defend". Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the Constitution and principles of our oath ... I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator's wings.".....

Something does not jive here....... and a Navy pilot should know better.

There were two aircraft carriers named USS Hornet in WW2. The first (and original Tokyo Raid etc) was CV-8 and was sunk in the Coral Sea, 1943. It was replaced by re-naming a ship then nearing completion. This second Hornet was numbered CV-12 and was the one I served on in Viet Nam. CV-14 was the USS Ticonderoga which was launched 7 February 1944 at Norfolk Virginia.

Perhaps was merely a typo.,,,, but it is troublesome.

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