analyzes the current confrontation between the White House and Congress over continued funding for the Iraq war. Under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, Congress has reached an agreement
to pass a bill which approves $124 billion in funding for the war, but sets a timetable for withdrawal. Following the passage of the Senate bill in March, Bush gave a more-than-normally petulant speech against the Democratic proposals—prompting Pelosi, like a mother scolding a teenager, to urge Bush to "calm down with the threats" and to "take a deep breath." This was the first public suggestion by a prominent elected figure that the President lacks maturity—a widely held view in Washington.
posted by russilwvong
on Apr 24, 2007 -
- a flipbook style video of thousands of pictures taken in Kurdish dominated northern Iraq by photojournalist Ed Kashi.
posted by Burhanistan
on Apr 19, 2007 -
You'll go by the phone kiosk and you'll hear young men having these very strange, almost surreal arguments or discussions with their wives over something like, "Hey the garage is leaking, how do we fix that?" And what she maybe doesn't understand is, maybe that guy just got ambushed, like half an hour ago, and he's shaking from the adrenaline, and he's just calling her just to hear a familiar voice, and she's like, "We gotta get the sprinklers fixed." And he's like, "Oh, OK ... . I love you." He just wants to get back to the ground. And that's what makes me angry, is what all of this is doing to these very young families. It just makes me mad. It makes anybody mad.
, interviewed in TNR (reg required, free)
on his frequent USO visits to Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted by Ethereal Bligh
on Apr 13, 2007 -
Iranian envoy wounds 'confirmed':
The head of the International Red Cross in Tehran, Peter Stoeker, says he saw wounds on an Iranian diplomat who has alleged that US forces in Iraq tortured him. There were marks on Jalal Sharafi's feet, legs, back and nose. [photos
On 4 February soldiers from the Iraqi army 36th Commando battalion in Baghdad, considered to be under American control, had seized Jalal Sharafi, while he was carrying a videogame
, a gift for his daughter. Read more about the US secret operations against Iranians in Iraq in an exclusive report
by The Independent.
posted by hoder
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Detainees are confined for 22 hours a day to individual, enclosed, steel cells where they are almost completely cut off from human contact. The cells have no windows to the outside or access to natural light or fresh air. No activities are provided, and detainees are subjected to 24 hour lighting and constant observation by guards through the narrow windows in the cell doors. They exercise alone in a high-walled yard where little sunlight filters through; detainees are often only offered exercise at night and may not see daylight for days at a time... It appears that around 80 per cent of the approximately 385 men currently held at Guantánamo are in isolation – a reversal of earlier moves to ease conditions and allow more socialising among detainees. Cruel and Inhuman: Conditions of isolation for detainees at Guantánamo Bay Red Cross chief raises Guantánamo issue in D.C.Guantánamo follies
posted by y2karl
on Apr 8, 2007 -
How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits:
His deafness, memory problems and depression caused were not caused by a rocket attack he survived in Ramadi, but by a pre-existing personality disorder. Well, according to the Army medical staff, that is. (via
posted by knave
on Apr 4, 2007 -
Embrace the Suck.
Intensive military activity creates an incubator for slang. By bringing together people from geographically diverse backgrounds, putting them into stressful circumstances, and teaching them a new language of jargon and acronym
, the armed forces create fertile ground for new idioms - many of which return home in civvies when the conflicts are over. In the Civil War
, World War I
and World War II
, in Korea
and in Viet Nam
, servicepeople created or popularized now-familiar terms like shoddy, hotshot, cooties, tailspin, fleabag, face time, joystick, SNAFU, FUBAR, flaky, gung ho, no sweat, flame-out,
and many, many others
Now, the GWOT
brings us a new generation
. Military columnist Austin Bay
has published an early collection of neologisms from Gulf War II
. On NPR, Bay explains what The Suck is
, how to identify a fobbit
, and why Marines look down on the attitude of Semper I
posted by Miko
on Mar 31, 2007 -
Voices of the Fallen: the war in the words of the dead-- In letters and journals and e-mails, the war dead live on, their words—urgent, honest, unself-conscious—testament to the realities of combat. What do they have to say to us? ... The result is a window on Iraq we have not had before: the bravery, the fear and the chaos of war, and the loves and hates and dreams and nightmares of the warriors. Things are incredibly busy, then they are not. The Iraqis are welcoming, then they are not. The war is going well, then it is not. The mission makes sense, then it does not. ...
(video, audio, email, and text)
posted by amberglow
on Mar 30, 2007 -
US and Iraq: Post-Pottery Barn Rules.
"The issue here is not which candidate said what, but how the campaign is revealing the underlying public mood -- the view people have of the Iraq saga and their country’s international responsibility more generally."
posted by ZenMasterThis
on Mar 30, 2007 -
Construction of the largest embassy on Earth
will shortly be completed in Iraq. Roughly the size of Vatican City, and previously estimated to cost nearly 1 billion, (later reduced to a mere 592 million
), this remarkable feat of engineering "...will have its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewater-treatment facility, 'systems to allow 100 percent independence from city utilities,' says the report..."
posted by Avenger
on Mar 24, 2007 -
"I thought, 'Why don't we just raid the place?' "
--the newest and only currently viable way to check up on how the billions and billions we're spending on reconstruction in Iraq is being spent--fake raids by the US military, making it seem like the recipients aren't receiving aid from us, and in fact are being targeted by us.
posted by amberglow
on Mar 23, 2007 -
Vet Kills Himself After VA Turns Him Away
Marine veteran Jonathan Schulze survived the war in Iraq but almost two years after he came home, it ended up killing him, reports The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
He had one of the toughest jobs in the war: taming the insurgent hotbed of Ramadi in 2004.
posted by Postroad
on Mar 15, 2007 -
Sgt. Wells's New Skull. In the epidemic of brain injuries coming out of the war, Army neurosurgeons had never seen someone survive such a devastating wound. But Brian Wells jokes that he just left part of his head in Iraq. Someday, he says, he'll have to go back and get it.
posted by srboisvert
on Mar 15, 2007 -
is an Iraqi-American who was born in Najaf
. He left Iraq in the late 70's to teach, first to the UAE, and then to Germany. In 1986, he moved to the US, where he eventually opened Sinbad's, a successful restaurant. In late 2003, he went back to Iraq after learning his mother had died. Upon his return to the US, he could not stop thinking about the country he left, and the state it was in, so in 2004, he sold his restaurant and moved back.
There, he founded the Muslim Peacemakers Team, based closely off of the Christian Peacemakers Team
(and in fact was a friend of Tom Fox
). He currently lives in Iraq, although comes back to visit the US every year or so, to raise awareness, visit friends, and to share news about what is really going on in Iraq. [Links to Articles, E-mails, and Interviews inside.]
posted by wander
on Mar 14, 2007 -
" No matter what happens now
the Islamists will have beaten both of the superpowers -- first the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and now the United States in the heart of Islam
. The impact of that in Islamic civilization is going to be enormous. We have made bin Laden a prophet: His organizing concept for Al Qaeda was "The Russians are a lot tougher than the Americans. If we can beat the Russians, then we can eventually beat the Americans." "
Rolling Stone assembles a panel of military and history experts on the state, and future, of Iraq.
posted by four panels
on Mar 14, 2007 -
The Bookseller's Story, Ending Much Too Soon.
Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post
writes about Mohammed Hayawi, "a bald bear of a man," who ran the Renaissance Bookstore on "Baghdad's storied Mutanabi Street." Back in 2005, Phillip Robertson wrote a Salon article
about Al Mutanabbi Street, "Baghdad's legendary literary cafe, the Shabandar, " and Hajji Qais Anni's stationery store: "Hajji Qais had been on Al Mutanabbi street for 10 years and the vendors all knew him... He wore a beard and was also known as a devout Sunni who had no problem hiring Shia workers or spending time with Christian colleagues." Both Hayawi and Hajji Qais were killed by bombs, the cafe has been gutted, and the street that "embodied a generation-old saying: Cairo writes, Beirut publishes, Baghdad reads" is no longer its old self. "When the Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258, it was said that the Tigris River ran red one day, black another. The red came from the blood of nameless victims, massacred by ferocious horsemen. The black came from the ink of countless books from libraries and universities. Last Monday, the bomb on Mutanabi Street detonated at 11:40 a.m. The pavement was smeared with blood. Fires that ensued sent up columns of dark smoke, fed by the plethora of paper." Two views of a part of Baghdad that doesn't make the news much.
posted by languagehat
on Mar 13, 2007 -
I am sullied -- no more
. Colonel Ted Westhusing was a soldier's soldier -- a multilingual West Point graduate, tough as nails, who was committed to the ancient Greek warrior's ideal of ἀρετή
("arete," excellence). He volunteered to go to Iraq, where he was commanded by another outstanding
rising-star officer, counterinsurgency expert David Petraeus
. (Westhusing's widow, Michelle, recalls that her husband thought his country was doing "a great thing" there.) After working with one of the shadowy contractors the US has relied on to train Iraqi security forces, USIS
, Westhusing became increasingly despondent. In May 2005, investigators say, he put a 9mm bullet in his brain after writing a note that said, "Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I
know it." Westhusing died, as was previously discussed here
, and his former "cdr" is now running the war
. Lots of new information in this article from the Texas Observer
posted by digaman
on Mar 10, 2007 -
The private war of women soldiers.
"Last year, Col. Janis Karpinski caused a stir by publicly reporting that in 2003, three female soldiers had died of dehydration in Iraq, which can get up to 126 degrees in the summer, because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being raped by male soldiers if they walked to the latrines after dark."
posted by Sticherbeast
on Mar 8, 2007 -
Whatever one's opinion of its possible limitations, the 2006 Iraq mortality survey produced epidemiological evidence that coalition forces have failed to protect Iraqi civilians... If, for the sake of argument, the study is wrong and the number of Iraqi deaths is less than half the infamous figure, is it acceptable that "only" 300,000 have died? Last November, with no explanation, the Iraqi Ministry of Health suddenly began citing 150,000 dead, five times its previous estimate. Is that amount of death acceptable? In January, the United Nations reported that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed violently in the last year alone. Is that acceptable?
Regarding The Number
, the result of what one of the study's authors calls an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide
... [more within]
posted by y2karl
on Mar 7, 2007 -
Confessions of an Army Torturer
"...as an army interrogator, he tortured detainees for information he admits they rarely had. Since leaving Iraq he’s taken this story public, doing battle on national television against the war’s architects for giving him the orders he regrets he obeyed...
posted by Postroad
on Mar 3, 2007 -
"Is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism?" New article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker.
posted by homunculus
on Feb 25, 2007 -
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.
posted by scottreynen
on Feb 23, 2007 -
"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
posted by y2karl
on Feb 15, 2007 -
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?
posted by Benny Andajetz
on Feb 11, 2007 -