Born to War is a series of paintings of American women killed in Iraq. The combination of the increasing role of women in the American military and the blurring of lines between combat and non-combat roles in Iraq have made this the first war in which female US soldiers have died in direct combat. The focus on a smaller number of women provides a more approachable view of casualties than more general sites like Iraq Body Count and raises some interesting questions about the role of women in the US military.
The Iraq Effect: The War in Iraq and its Impact on the War on Terrorism. "The war has inspired a wave of terrorism around the world. Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of jihadist attacks has jumped 35 percent in the past four years. A Mother Jones exclusive study by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank."
Donald Rumsfeld, Revealed - Parts 1 and 2. A nice, brief historical roundup of the man who - in the words of John McCain - is "one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."
A somber video with music purporting to show the downing of a US helicopter surfaces on the New York Times and YouTube. Some background here.
Iraq: The Hidden Story is a very interesting 48 minute Channel 4 report on the news you see and the news you don't. Not for the squeamish. via
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility. The Iraq war has transformed Walter Reed into "a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients." Meanwhile, despite predictions that the cost of medical care for veterans will skyrocket, the Bush administration apparently plans to cut funding for veterans' health care. Tired of waiting for the government, more people are taking the initiative in developing alternative facilities to help veterans.
"It's quite frustrating the way this works, but the way we do things nowadays is combatant commanders brief their products in PowerPoint up in Washington to OSD and Secretary of Defense... In lieu of an order, or a frag [fragmentary] order, or plan, you get a set of PowerPoint slides... [T]hat is frustrating, because nobody wants to plan against PowerPoint slides." Lt. Gen. McKiernanTop Secret Polo Step: CentCom PowerPoint Slides Briefed to White House and Rumsfeld in 2002, Obtained by National Security Archive through Freedom of Information Act.
"Desert Crossing" 1999 Assumed 400,000 Troops and Still a Mess
See also A Prewar Slide Show Cast Iraq in Rosy Hues
One more time? It looks like the case against Iran has begun publicly. Unfortunately, this seems eerily familiar. Unnamed officials with unverified claims are holding press conferences - on a Sunday, no less. Is this an attempt to explain our difficulties in Iraq or a prelude to retaliation with Iran? Worrisome, or not?
"The Uncontainable Kurds" (NYRB). Nice summary of recent Kurdish politics in Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
As the war in Iraq nears its fourth anniversary, and with no end in sight, Americans are owed explanations. The Senate Intelligence Committee has promised a report on whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence to justify the war against Iraq. An explanation is due also for how the U.S. press helped pave the way for war. An independent and thorough inquiry of pre-war press coverage would be a public service. Not least of the beneficiaries would be the press itself, which could be helped to understand its behavior and avoid a replay.Cranberg wants a serious probe of why the press failed in its pre-war reporting
Watada case mistrial declared A new trial has been scheduled, but the attorney for the defense says they will invoke double jeopardy if it goes forward. The army has apparently tried to compel reporters to testify in the case. Plenty of people weighing in on the case lauding him or calling him a caudillo. (previously and oblig. NYT link)
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Singer-songwriter Margo Guryan takes the 16 words from George W. Bush's 2003 State Of The Union address and set them to music. Comes with great video, directed by James Reitano (iFilm, youtube). [more inside]
"I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself."
For Saddam Hussein, he is an oppressor, but the solution is not to kill every oppressor to smash a whole people, destroy civilizations, and kill children and women and deceit.
Signature: Iraq Victims Team
Signature: Iraq Victims Team
..."Shifting to StratCom indicates that they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran]," says Lang. ..."If they write a plan like that and the president issues an execute order, the forces will execute it. He's got the power to do that as commander-in-chief. We set that up during the Cold War. It may, after the fact, be considered illegal, or an impeachable offense, but if he orders them to do it, they will do it." ...by the end of February the United States will have enough forces in place to mount an assault on Iran. That, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
Stepped up US preparations for war against Iran
The United States and Iran: the logic of war
How the press can prevent another Iraq
What to Ask Before the Next War
While there have been many posts on Mefi of blogs written by those affected by the Iraq War, I have not seen this one posted. No matter your stance on the war, your opinion of American soldiers, or the amount of other Iraq war blogs you've read, all I ask is that you at least read these few entries. I've used too many words already, when the journal does more than enough to speak for itself. A Soldier's Thoughts. (via) [more inside]
Footage of the 'friendly fire' incident [Embedded wmv 15m20s] in which Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull was killed is obtained by The Sun. The inquest into L/Cpl Hull's death, earlier suspended in part because of failure to release the video, will now go ahead. Direct link to video stream Discussion on UK forces' message board
... "All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the `Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, `Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory." Quinn agreed. "Honestly, within six months of us leaving, the way Iranian clerics run the country behind the scenes, it'll be the same way here with Sadr," said Quinn, 25, of Cleveland. "He already runs our side of the river."Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.
Iraqi Interior Ministry estimates 1000 killed in one week
Northern Iraq seen as next front in war
Last week a video was posted to YouTube and linked to by the Iraqslogger site. The YouTube account ("Deathlyillington") is now defunct but the video survives and purports to show a former guard from Abu Ghraib talking about torture techniques employed at the American-run prison. The man recounts the gang rape of a female teenage detainee, in which one guard "pimped" the girl to others for $50 each. As he recalls, "I think at the end of the day he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself." The US Army's Criminal Investigation Department has now launched an investigation, but the question remains, is the video real, or is it a hoax along the lines of Jesse Macbeth, the Daily Mirror fake torture photos or the fake beheading video. The video contains few clues to the identity of the alleged soldier, who is shown in silhouette but seems potentially recognizable. A transcript is available.
Time magazine recently launched a new politics blog, Swampland. The blog is, to this point, most interesting for its confrontations between the commenters and the bloggers. [m.i.]
The helicopter that was shot down over Iraq this weekend was carrying, among other high-ranking officers, the US Army's chief medical officer for troops in Iraq.
Politics/PlameFilter: In opening arguments today in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House." An MSNBC host asked whether this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation. Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
"By early 2005, nearly one-third of the wounded soldiers admitted to the National Naval Medical Center had been colonized by the bacteria."
Rumors were circulating at the hospital that insurgents dosed their homemade bombs with the flesh of dead animals. ---multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter, and how we brought it to Iraq ourselves. "My colleagues and I have been looking for Acinetobacter baumannii in soil samples for years, and we haven't found it," she says. "These organisms are quite rare outside of hospitals." In other news, conditions in Iraqi hospitals are so bad due to lack of even the most basic supplies they're calling it a breach of the Geneva Conventions.
Marine funerals and the aftermath of Katrina. Moving sets of photographs that were worthy of this year's Pulitzer Prize for Feature and Break News photography, respectively. Powerful. Frightening. Painful.
“Oh, I took the roofs road" --just one of the fascinating things at a new Iraq blog--Inside Iraq-- daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.
An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq. "As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home." (via the Seattle Times.)
There are Klingons in the Whitehouse! Er, make that faux Klingons.
Getting rich by getting it wrong How the elite pundits who pushed the war profited in money and prominence, despite being completely wrong. Mean while many pundits who opposed the war from the start were sidelined.
The annotated G.W. Bush A little over a week ago, we discussed the Institute for the Future of the Book and their publication of the Iraq Study Group Report in a profoundly innovative new format designed to elicit, y'know, democracy: reasoned deliberation on issues of importance on the part of the governed. At the time, I expressed my opinion that the publication set a new standard for the release of public documents in a democracy. Well, they've done it again, with this rapid-turnaround publication of our preznit's most recent address to the nation, outlining his new strategy for Iraq. Interested members of the public are invited to append their "comments, criticisms and clarifications."
Where They Came From A map depicting the point of origin, of solders killed in Iraq.
Added January 8, 2007: The US Navy has a message for you(Tube) concerning the Navy Seals: "They are warrior diplomats and trusted teammates in the war against terrorism. They understand the political and cultural sensitivities of the countries in which they operate." Added October 22, 2006: This former Marine commander has a message for you(Tube) as well, concerning "cultural sensitivities". Speaking of his part in the assault on Fallujah: "I started to cry... the woman seeing my reaction... put her hand on my cheek and said Insha'Allah... cause these people over there can accept it as God's will... but no, it wasn't God's will, it was my fucking order. I gave the order to fire those rockets into the building, and I killed her family. I have to live with that..."
Newsfilter: Contractors in war zones lose immunity. American civilian contractors are now subject to military law.
Iraq: The Lost Generation. This 47 minute long documentary was filmed by an anonymous Iraqi journalist. Broadcast on the UK's Channel 4 in November, it tells the stories of several young Iraqis whose lives have been changed by the invasion and occupation of their country.
Saddam"s Iraq and his Execution Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Topics include international press coverage, how the execution technique was selected, summary executions under Saddam's regime, history of execution pictures, and brief descriptions of several forms of hanging. Also includes background about Saddam's relationship with the United States. But how did he come to power? Here, a concise history, from beginning to the present
A disturbing chess set uses the US war in the Middle East as inspiration for its pieces. This is only one modern take of many variations of sets which play off of religious/cultural conflict. to The game itself generally has had a turbulent relationship with religion. In the 13th Century, Pope Innocent III excused post-chess homicide as an involuntary act. Some modern Muslims don't approve of chess, despite Islam having probably introduced it to Europe. Judaism also has a long, if disputed engagement with the game, including enduring anti-semitic attacks about "Jewish" gameplay. The Taliban banned chess in Afghanistan, and the game has returned after their fall (though it now sounds like the Afghan women's team has been withdrawn).
US deaths in Iraq exceed 9/11 deaths today but of course the Iraqi deaths crossed that line long ago.
NewsFilter: War in Iraq taxing the military? Why not just replace our soldiers with foreigners?
The Iraq Study Group Report, annotated, an experimental project by The Institute for the Future of the Book.
So, you want to run a counter-insurgency? (Large .pdf of the current US Army counter-insurgency manual.)
Capt. Travis Patriquin's PowerPoint presentation (.pdf file) is a guide to victory in Anbar province. But But Patriquin will not see victory in Iraq. He was killed by [an] improvised explosive device last Wednesday.
Getting out of Iraq: the Iraq Study Group report recommended talking to Iran and Syria, and making continued US military and economic support conditional on progress by the Iraqi government. "U.S. foreign policy is doomed to failure—as is any course of action in Iraq—if it is not supported by a broad, sustained consensus. The aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus." Reaction from Democrats has been generally positive; reaction from Republicans has been divided between moderates and hawks (the New York Post called Baker and Hamilton "surrender monkeys"). Bush quickly rejected talks with Iran and Syria. The White House has been arguing about how to proceed. Previously.