New Allegations Have Surfaced
that the US Is Effectively Holding Iraq's Oil Revenues
Hostage to Force through a Proposed Long-Term Strategic Alliance, Raising New
Questions about the US' Committment to an Independent, Self-Governing Iraq. The Deal,
Which in its Current Form is Said to Provide for an Indefinite American Military Presence and Blanket Immunity from Iraqi Law for All American Troops and Civilian Contractors, Is Understandably Not All That Popular with Many Iraqi Citizens
. Iraqi Lawmakers Have Also Expressed Doubts
about the Deal. (IRAQ WAR/POLITICS FILTER.)
Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence. Phase II Report on Public Statements [PDF]
and Phase II Report on DoD Policy Office [PDF]
. This may come as a shock, but most of what the Bush Administration said about Iraq wasn't true. Republican co-chair Bond, Kit Bond, says
the reports are "political theatre." [more inside]
As Close as Any Brother
- Ali Hameed, an Iraqi NYT employee, writes about PCs in daily life in Iraq. Once a mortar fell near to our house. Everyone stopped what they were doing, I mean if it was eating, watching TV, sleeping — except Rana. She kept on typing and typing. I yelled at her: "Rana leave the PC and come here, you are sitting near the glass!" She told me, "Just a minute, I want to talk to my friend, she is online and it has been a long time since I connected with her."
From NYT's Baghdad Bureau
According to an audit
released today by the DoD's IG, there has been virtually no oversight
of over $8 billion paid by the Defense Department to contractors in Iraq. The report confirms a similar finding back in 2005 that over $9 billion
in Iraq war funds were unaccounted for. As a factual and non-polemical matter, this spectacular waste
of taxpayer money has undoubtedly lined the pockets
of more than a few war profiteers
. To say the Iraq war has been plagued with rampant corruption
, fraud and fiscal mismanagement is not an editorial position or overstatement: even lawmakers have begun to acknowledge this
Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience
- “massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland.” Here's a quick roundup
of some commentary
. (last link with concept design sketches)
Bush interview with Politico: "For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families: He has given up golf
The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree.
"The occupation of Iraq will cost $3 trillion, America's most expensive conflict since WWII. Can YOU spend that money better? Here's your chance to go on a virtual $3 trillion shopping spree and prove it!" [Via Gristmill.]
Killing by the numbers.
"In 2007 elite U.S. snipers executed an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. Have the insidious tactics that led to atrocities in Vietnam reemerged in Iraq?"
An extraordinary piece of magazine writing by Chris Jones.
Jones tells the story of how the body of Sergeant Joe Montgomery makes its way from a Baghdad suburb to its final resting place in a grave in Indiana. It's one of the finest pieces of journalism that I've read in years. It’s extremely moving without being saccharine or twee. It’s a military story, but utterly without jingoism or indictment. And it’s wonderfully observed. If I taught a first-year creative writing course, I'd make this required reading.
“People like you are not holding up the Constitution ..."
Or so said Major Freddy Welborn, Specialist Jeremy Hall's commanding officer in Tikrit. "Last month, Specialist Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
, an advocacy group, filed suit in federal court in Kansas, alleging that Specialist Hall’s right to be free from state endorsement of religion under the First Amendment had been violated and that he had faced retaliation for his views. In November, he was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers." (NY Times)
Television military analysts are wooed, courted, and privileged by the Pentagon.
An in-depth investigative report by the New York Times
uncovers logrolling, shilling, touting, back-scratching, and just plain bias on the part of the experts that television networks put on the air to talk about the war. Some of them appear to be as good as owned by the Defense Department. "The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves."
Riding The Tiger;
Muqtada al-Sadr and the American Dilemma in Iraq is the final chapter of Patrick Cockburn's
Seymour Hersh has called Cockburn, who writes for the British paper, The Independent, "quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today."
Meanwhile al - Sadr has called off
his million man march for now. Juan Cole asks
: What if the US military presence is juvenilizing the Iraqis and prolonging the civil war?
are an Iranian family of filmmakers, although Samira tends to get the most press. [more inside]
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
Through half a decade of war, a team of 100 Reuters correspondents, photographers, cameramen and support staff have strived to bring the world news from the most dangerous country for the press.
This is their testimony - bearing witness to ensure the story of Iraq is not lost
In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, PBS' Frontline
presented a fantastic 2- part special on the issue this past Monday and Tuesday. It is now available in it's entirety online along with interview transcripts from senior officials, a video timeline of the war, and battlefield stories from soldiers. Bush's War
The Woman Behind the Camera.
Film maker Errol Morris
, and the New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch
look at Sabrina Harman, photographer, and Army MP in Iraq. [more inside]
outside of his usual context is often weird and disturbing
The U.S. Military's Assassination Problem:
"Software like 'Bugsplat'
is supposed to keep decapitation attacks precise. So why do we keep blowing up Iraqi wedding parties?" [more inside]
The Man Between War and Peace.
"As head of U. S. Central Command, Admiral William 'Fox' Fallon is in charge of American military strategy for the most troubled parts of the world. Now, as the White House has been escalating the war of words with Iran, and seeming ever more determined to strike militarily before the end of this presidency, the admiral has urged restraint and diplomacy. Who will prevail, the president or the admiral?" [Via Think Progress.]
This is how we do it.
[NSFW] Disturbing new photos from Abu Ghraib
The Myth of the Surge:
"Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it's already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq." [Via Devoter.]
"My name is Captain Doug MacNair, I coordinate the media embedding program from a desk here in Ottawa... I have embedded more than 250 journalists in our program, and no embed has given me more personal satisfaction than yours... Thanks for being handy with a pencil and a piece of paper
. Thanks for writing
so well about the things that are hard to draw. Thanks for leaving your family to do an important job. I know how that feels and it’s never easy. Most of all Richard, thanks for risking your life while you do all those things." Q&A with Richard Johnson
The Pritzker Military Library
, a "public institution for the study of the citizen-soldier as an essential element for the preservation of democracy." Found while doing some after-film research on Charlie Wilson's War
, the site is a trove of largely non-partisan, often refreshingly candid military perspectives. Particular highlights are video and audio interviews with Jim Lovell
and Congressional Medal of Honor
Bush requests $515.4 billion
in funds for the defense budget
So what do those numbers mean?
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
states the DoD’s base budget will grow to record (or near-record) levels and will require even greater increases in the coming years.
wouldn’t mind the planned pay raises commensurate with the private sector, housing that doesn’t smell like bug powder and mold, and chow that doesn’t turn your stomach.
But according to the CSBA’s analysis ( here
* caution PDF) , it’s doubtful that even an ideological Bush clone would be able to implement those increases given the economic realities.
Some vets blame the silence of the generals.
Should everything have changed post 9/11?
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
covers war in Iraq with a soldier's eyes. First hand impressions, photos, and reports from a non journalist. A NYT write up.
While it may be old news the US was drawn into the Iraq War under false pretenses, a new report by the Center for Public Integrity
documents 935 specific falsehoods in public statements by eight white house officials: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz,
Fleischer and McClellan. [more inside]
As Iraqis See It.
"About a year ago, McClatchy Newspapers
set up a blog exclusively for contributions from its Iraqi staff. 'Inside Iraq
,' it's called, and several times a week the Iraqi staff members post on it about their experiences and impressions. 'It's an opportunity for Iraqis to talk directly to an American audience,' says Leila Fadel, the current bureau chief. As such, the blog fills a major gap in the coverage." Previously discussed here
. [Via disinformation.]
kickoff of the New York Times' penetrating new series investigating the violence that comes home when our soldiers do.
A new report
authored by WHO and Iraqi officials suggests a lower violence-related death count - 151000 - than previous studies, notably that of the Lancet
[pdf] where over 650000 were reported to have died. Previously on metafilter
. For previous studies, the timing has not been a coincidence
Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review
"reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This UNICEF
special edition analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence." [more inside]
has had two tours in Iraq," Jerome Lee said. "He's been through a lot, and we just want to get Lex home to our family
and let him have a happy life." It is the first time a working dog has been granted retirement to live with a handler's family. [more inside]
The Losers Cover Gallery
showcases the bold design sense and unique art style of UK comics artist Jock
, who also produced much of the interior art for the VERTIGO
series. Losely based on a WWII comic of the same name it became a fast paced action caper with a political edge under writer Andy Diggle
, and the covers reflect both the themes
and the cinematic style
of the comic.
"Hundreds of thousands of Americans have endured tours of duty in Iraq. They are returning home with a new word on their lips. It will have an impact on the American Experiment, inshallah