Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dahr Jamail: "This Is a Big Disaster for the Lebanese."

"A reported 15,000 people crossed the Lebanese border into Syria on Thursday, seeking refuge from widespread bombings in Beirut, carried out by Israeli F-16 warplanes. Today, the situation continued, with reports of bombed petrol stations, police stations, and a hospital. Interviewing people at the border who had fled the bombs in Beirut, I felt like I was back in Iraq ..." writes Dahr Jamail.

Read Dahr's dispatch here (Truthout).

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Iraq Dispatches: "This is going to be a big war."

Independent journalist Dahr Jamail wrote this dispatch en route and upon his arrival in the Middle East. He will be reporting regularly on the highly volatile, dangerous situation in Lebanon, Syria and the region.

I wish him safe return.

July 13, 2006

"This is going to be a big war."

You can always spot them a mile away-he was white, middle-aged, overweight, hair cut close to hide the pattern baldness, red face, wearing a Harley Davidson motorcycle t-shirt and shorts. All of the aforementioned is acceptable in the Middle East, of course, minus the shorts. Aside from a few places like Beirut, wearing shorts in the
Middle East isn't exactly being respectful of the native culture.

But when you are a mercenary, I suppose that's damned low on your priority list.

Then there was the other one-I noticed him in Chicago before we board our Royal Jordanian flight to Amman. A 30-something white man, eyes wide open, looking over his shoulder constantly, chewing gum so hard his jaw muscles protruded. Blue-flames tattooed on his right arm above the wrist-running up under his sleeve I don't know how far up his arm. His tan combat boots and tan backpack kind of gave him away too, despite his wearing civilian clothing.

During my flight I sat near a kind Palestinian man from the West Bank. The older gentleman works in Dallas, and is retiring from his electronics store which he is happy to tell me is being passed along to his kids. His wife remains in the West Bank, so that's why he's moving back home. I asked him what it's like to go home.

"I spend the night in Amman then the next day it takes sometimes the full day to cross the bridge and get through the checkpoints. We have the Jordanian border, the Israeli checkpoint, and another to get into the West Bank," he says, "Each time they take all our things out, search them and us, then if we're lucky we're waved through."

I ask him how he deals with it, personally, without losing his mind. "Oh, all I can do is laugh, because if I lose my temper, if anyone loses their temper, the soldiers [occupation soldiers] just go away for 3-4 hours until they feel like returning. So we all just stay calm and behave gently and with dignity. They have all the power. We have none. So what else can we do?"

Behaving like a typical Arab, he invites me to his home anytime I'm in the area.

Landing in the heat of Amman, I left the plane and walk past a Jordanian man holding a small piece of paper up which read, "Blackwater." Of course it's for one (or both) of the men I described above…and soon I see him greeting the man who prefers to wear shorts in the Middle East.

Not too much has changed in the airport in Amman, aside from the new Starbucks. Of course, the Cinnabon had already been here for at least a couple of years.

Meanwhile, plenty has changed in the region since I was here one year ago. Wednesday, after having two of their soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters, the government of Israel has sent ground troops, backed by aircraft and artillery, into Southern Lebanon. It's the first ground operation by the Israelis in Lebanon since they withdrew from occupying Lebanon in 2000. Just what the Middle East needs-another country to be occupied; the move is akin to dumping jet fuel on a raging fire.

The prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, referring to how his country would respond to having two of their soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, told a joint news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, "The Lebanese government is responsible. Lebanon will pay the price."

Adhering to his favorite policy of collective punishment, Olmert, added, "…those responsible for the attack will pay a high and painful price." So attack a country because a rebel group in south Lebanon captured two soldiers. And so the madness continues, as an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza on what they claimed was targeting a "Hamas top militant leader" killed nine Palestinians, including seven children from one family.

Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara stated recently that Israel's occupation of Arab land lays at the root of the new crisis that found Israeli troops entering Lebanon. Let's have some more jet fuel. Looks like I've picked an interesting time to visit Syria.

Meanwhile, Baghdad burns as over 100 people have been killed in sectarian violence since Sunday.

A short flight has me landing in Damascus, then racing through the streets as warm air flows through the open taxi windows. The pale green lights mark the tops of minarets around the city, the rest of the lights twinkling in the background as we found our way to my hotel.

After checking in, I dropped my bag and began to walk out for some food, only to find Abu Talat at the front desk. A long bear hug and the typical cheek kissing of Arab men, and we meet again after over one year since we last were together. I'd given him the name of my hotel, but was suspect as to whether he would have a successful trip out of Baghdad, with the extremes of violence over the last three days there. He tends to not go far from home when that occurs, but alas, he decided to go after obtaining a promise from his son not to leave his home under any circumstances.

Also typical of Arab men, we walk down the sidewalk holding hands, en route to a café, talking a mile a minute. He tells me how horrible it is in Baghdad. He lists his family members and relatives, one by one, who have left already for good. "Those who can afford to fly are purchasing one way tickets Dahr," he says, "For they have no intention of coming back. Aside from my own children and wife, I am the only one of my relatives left in Iraq."

The fighting is everywhere, he tells me. Now that the U.S. military/Rumsfeld (who was just in Baghdad) and Khalilzad have declared war on the Shia Mehdi Army, accusing them of terrorism, all bets are off. Of course, the timing of this with Israelis attacks against Hezbollah couldn't be more perfect. Coincidence?

"The fighting is everywhere, and there is no way the Americans can control it now," Abu Talat adds, "The Shia are fighting each other for control of Basra, while also fighting the Sunni."

"It is civil war now in Iraq, no doubt," he continues, "But no matter who you ask, no one will admit it. Because people are too afraid to admit this. People prefer to deny it."

Even back at our hotel, there are at least two other Iraqis, who have come here for surgery, since all of the senior doctors have long since left Baghdad to save their own lives.

The next day, Thursday, we awoke with our eyes glued to al-Jazeera on the television. Israeli warplanes bombed Beirut's Rafiq al-Hariri airport. At least two air strikes were reported while Lebanese anti-aircraft guns fired feebly at the jets, according to witnesses. Israeli jets also bombed bridges linking south Lebanon to the rest of the country, and 22 civilians were killed last night by Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon.

In response to the bombings, Hezbollah claims to have fired 60 rockets into northern Israel.

The Israeli justification for bombing the airport in Beirut and pushing into southern Lebanon is that two of their soldiers were captured. In classic newspeak, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said of the incident, "It is an act of war by the state of Lebanon," conveniently omitting the bombings in the occupied territories, including civilians on a beach, by Israeli forces over the last weeks.

"This is going to be a big war," Abu Talat tells me while we watch plumes of smoke billowing from locations within Lebanon, "This is even more important for us to cover than Iraq, and you know how much I love Iraq."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

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Website Seeks to Impeach Bush

A new grassroot website seeks impeachment of Bush. However, this website is not limited to problems of the U.S. Anyone from any country with political instabilities can also post their concerns. The site is geared so that average people can have their say and sign petitions that are then forwarded to the appropriate government recipients. (You don't have to by an American to sign the Bush impeachment petition.)

Hmmm... Interesting...

(PRWEB) July 14, 2006 -- A new grassroots website, whose sole purpose is to impeach President George Bush, has made its debut on the internet. The website,, seeks to gather signatures for a petition that will be forwarded to select politicians, as well as the White House itself.

The impetus behind this website is one Vashek Pokorny of Eatonville, Washington. “The President has overstepped his bounds”, Pokorny said. “The war in Iraq is getting worse, and our personal freedoms are starting to disappear. What next – a personal crusade against Muslims throughout the world?”

The website looks to gather millions of signatures in order to make its statement heard in the Capital. “There are just too many problems throughout the world,” Pokorny continued. “We have the ability and capacity to change things. All we need to do is make the effort, and the obvious start would be to impeach the President.”

“We are engaged in a war that no one wants – least of all the Iraqis. Our personal liberties are slowly, but surely, being taken away. It seems that the only happy people are big business, especially oil companies who have posted record profits. And we all know how the Bushes made their money,” Pokorny added.

The website is not limited to problems in the U.S. only. People from around the world can now let their voices be heard. Anyone, from any country with political instabilities, can post their concerns on the new website. “Our website is geared to accommodate the “average Joe” who thinks that he does not have a say anymore. Now they can have their say,” Pokorny added. “It’s about time that politics goes back to where it belongs – with the people.”


Press Contact: Mick Mohr
Company Name: A&M SERVICES INC.
Email: email protected from spam bots
Phone: 253-875-2414

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tomgram: Playing the Destabilization Card at Home and Abroad

The Destabilization Game

By Tom Engelhardt

One of these days, some scholar will do a little history of the odd moments when microphones or recording systems were turned on or left on, whether on purpose or not, and so gave us a bit of history in the raw. We have plenty of American examples of this phenomenon, ranging from the secret White House recordings of President John F. Kennedy's meetings with his advisers during the Cuban Missile Crisis (so voluminous as to become multi-volume publications) and Richard Nixon's secret tapes (minus those infamous 18½ minutes), voluminous enough so that you could spend the next 84 days nonstop listening to what's been made publicly available, to the moment in 1984 when a campaigning President Ronald_Reagan quipped on the radio during a microphone check (supposedly unaware that it was on): "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Just last week, a lovely little example of this sort of thing came our way and, twenty-two years after Ronald Reagan threatened to atomize the "evil empire," Russia was still the subject. Last Thursday, at a private lunch of G-8 foreign ministers in Moscow, an audio link to the media was left on, allowing reporters to listen in on a running series of arguments (or as the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler put it, "several long and testy exchanges") between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over a collective document no one would remember thenceforth

The whole event was a grim, if minor, comedy of the absurd. According to the Post account, "Reporters traveling with Rice transcribed the tape of the private luncheon but did not tell Rice aides about it until after a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity as usual, assured them that ‘there was absolutely no friction whatsoever' between the two senior diplomats." (What better reminder do we need that so much anonymous sourcing granted by newspapers turns out to be a mix of unreliable spin and outright lies readers would be better off without?) In, as Kessler wrote, "a time of rising tension in U.S.-Russian relations," the recording even caught "the clinking of ice in glasses and the scratch of cutlery on plates," not to speak of the intense irritation of both parties.

"Sometimes the tone smacked of the playground" is the way a British report summed the encounter up, but decide for yourself. Here's a sample of what "lunch" sounded like -- the context of the discussion was Iraq (especially outrage over the kidnapping and murder of four employees of the Russian embassy in Baghdad):

"Rice said she worried [Lavrov] was suggesting greater international involvement in Iraq's affairs.

"'I did not suggest this,' Lavrov said. ‘What I did say was not involvement in the political process but the involvement of the international community in support of the political process.'

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: Ruth Rosen on Sexual Terrorism and Iraqi Women

Five American soldiers have been charged in a horrendous rape and murder case in Iraq (and a sixth for not reporting it). In the United States, rape is now a public crime. Cases are regularly discussed and followed in the media; victims are far less often blamed; if you turn on a TV program like Law & Order: SVU, rape cases are national drama and even entertainment.

In Iraq, rape remains a crime largely kept out of the sight of a society that finds it almost too heinous to imagine (which doesn't necessarily make it uncommon). Consider, for instance, the comments of an Iraqi journalist, Raheem Salman, who works for the Los Angeles Times and who interviewed the first relative to enter the house of the 14 year old victim after she had been raped and murdered, and her body partially burned by American soldiers:

"Well, indeed, to tell you frankly that it has a great impact upon the whole society, upon all Iraqis. This is one of the worst crimes, you know, to be committed against a girl in this age. Some people describe this murder and rape as horrible and gruesome and disgusting, indeed. Others describe it even as a brand of shame, even in the American Army's history. Others consider it as example of the atrocity of some of the soldiers. Among the lawmakers here in our parliament, some female lawmakers, you know, protested strongly under the dome of the parliament. They asked the parliament to call the prime minister and the minister of interior. They also asked for a real participation of the Iraqi side in the investigation, and not only the Americans."

Or consider the young Sunni blogger, Riverbend, who writes Baghdad Burning and now seems to live as a semi-shut-in in an Iraqi capital caught in a heightening state of civil war. ("It's like Baghdad is no longer one city, it's a dozen different smaller cities each infected with its own form of violence.") In a post in which she discusses the death of a friend -- a twenty-six year-old civil engineer caught in sectarian violence in his neighborhood -- she also turns to the rape case in this fashion:

"Rape. The latest of American atrocities. Though it's not really the latest -- it's just the one that's being publicized the most. The poor girl Abeer was neither the first to be raped by American troops, nor will she be the last. The only reason this rape was brought to light and publicized is that her whole immediate family were killed along with her. Rape is a taboo subject in Iraq. Families don't report rapes here, they avenge them. We've been hearing whisperings about rapes in American-controlled prisons and during sieges of towns like Haditha and Samarra for the last three years. The naiveté of Americans who can't believe their 'heroes' are committing such atrocities is ridiculous. Who ever heard of an occupying army committing rape??? You raped the country, why not the people?"

Finally, consider the fine reporter Nir Rosen, who has spent much of the last three years as an independent journalist in Iraq -- and who looks Iraqi enough (his father was Iranian) to have been able to experience both sides of the occupation. He has been embedded with U.S. troops, but also embedded with ordinary Iraqis. ("My skin color and language skills allowed me to relate to the American occupier in a different way, for he looked at me as if I were just another haji, the "gook" of the war in Iraq.") At the Truthdig website, he writes a summary account of the American occupation ("creating enemies instead of eliminating them") as he encountered it that has to be read to be believed. He concludes:

"In reality both Abu Ghraib and Haditha were merely more extreme versions of the day-to-day workings of the American occupation in Iraq, and what makes them unique is not so much how bad they were, or how embarrassing, but the fact that they made their way to the media and were publicized despite attempts to cover them up. Focusing on Abu Ghraib and Haditha distracts us from the daily, little Abu Ghraibs and small-scale Hadithas that have made up the occupation. The occupation has been one vast extended crime against the Iraqi people, and most of it has occurred unnoticed by the American people and the media."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Watada Case Catches Reporters in Crosshairs

The US Army will call two journalists as witnesses to support charges filed against First Lt. Ehren Watada. The Army believes the journalists' testimony will prove that Watada made "contemptuous" comments about President Bush and therefore engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.

Watada is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq having called the war and US occupation "illegal". He also said his participation would make him party to war crimes.

The charge sheet quotes Watada as saying in one interview: "As I read about the level of deception the Bush administration used to initiate and process this war, I was shocked. I became ashamed of wearing the uniform."

Seitz [the officer's lawyer] argues that such comments are within Watada's First Amendment rights to make, because he is stating a political position without inciting other people to acts of protest.

If found guilty on all charges, Watada faces up to seven years of confinement, dismissal and forfeiture of pay. It is bizarre that Watada faces such a heavy sentence for simply speaking his mind, while soldiers committing atrocities against Iraqi civilians get off scott free, and those few underlings who were charged with the Abu Ghraib crimes received relatively light punishment.

In the view of the present US administration, speaking out for one's beliefs is a crime while torturing and killing Iraqis is not.

Lt. Watada's case bears watching. Will his First Amendment rights be upheld or will this criminal administration throw them out the window? Whatever happens to Watada, he deserves the respect of all sane people for having the courage of his convictions. If more soldiers had his intrepidity, this insane, illegal, immoral, criminal war would end.

I wish Watada well, and hope that his case will be dealt with fairly, regardless of the fact that 'justice' is antithetical to the Bush administration.

Read full Truthout article here.

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Cindy Sheehan: Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Soldiers

Cindy Sheehan quotes Major General Smedley Butler, who wrote in 1935: "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Read full TruthOut article here.

Tomgram: Sandy Tolan, Déjà Vu in Gaza

On the one hand, there's the madness of devolving Iraq where dead bodies and sectarian bloodletting are now the daily norm; on the other hand, there's the eternal madness of the never less than devolving Israeli/Palestinian situation. There, last week, the Israeli government functionally declared Ariel Sharon's unilateral policy of a no-negotiations withdrawal from Gaza a failure and moved back in, launching its latest round of mayhem. This round added up to a massive collective punishment against the people of Gaza, the further degradation of their already desperately impoverished living conditions, an attempt to bring down any version of a Palestinian government, and the imprisonment of ministers and legislators of the elected one. This wide-ranging operation was explained as a measured response to the kidnapping of a single Israeli soldier and to some inept Qassam rocket attacks -- or as the Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy put it recently: "Israel is causing electricity blackouts, laying sieges, bombing and shelling, assassinating and imprisoning, killing and wounding civilians, including children and babies, in horrifying numbers, but ‘they started.' They are also ‘breaking the rules' laid down by Israel: We are allowed to bomb anything we want and they are not allowed to launch Qassams." (According to the Jerusalem Post, the captured soldier's father, Noam Shalit, criticized the government for its response, saying that "it was 'delusional' that the state of Israel would attempt to reestablish its deterrence at the expense of his son.")

Such Israeli tactics are, by now, visibly a kind of madness to whoever cares to look. As in Iraq, those on both sides who want to push the situation to the next level only bolster extremists, creating a hopeless situation for everyone else and planting a potential bumper crop of further seeds of bitterness. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jonathan Steele of the Guardian points out, wants (as did Ariel Sharon) "to undermine every moderate Palestinian by showing them up as powerless." As Juan Cole summed up the situation recently in a piece at Salon:

"The actions of… Olmert seem intended to create a failed state in Gaza and the West Bank, thus rendering the Israeli claim that 'we have no one to talk to' a self-fulfilling prophecy and allowing Israel to continue with its unilateral, annexationist policies, free of the need to even pretend to negotiate. This shortsighted "strategy," which both the United States and, to a slightly lesser degree, the strangely docile Europeans have signed off on, is a recipe for continued hatred, extremism, bloodshed, injustice and festering grievances."

Sometimes as events rush on, it's important to look back, to consider history. As September 11th was a date of great significance to Chileans -- on that day in 1973, a military coup backed by the Nixon administration overthrew the government of Salvador Allende -- but one of no significance to Americans (until, of course, 2001), so July 11 is a day of no importance to us, but an anniversary of abiding significance to many Palestinians -- and one we should know more about.

Journalist Sandy Tolan has spent the last years writing The Lemon Tree, An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East -- a book focused on a single stone house in Ramla, a town that was once an Arab community and is now a Jewish one. His focus was on the two families, Arab and Jewish, that have successively inhabited the house -- and on the complex and difficult friendship that formed between a member of each family. It is a moving book that the distinguished Israeli historian Tom Segev has called, "a powerful account of Palestinians and Israelis who try to break the seemingly endless chain of hatred and violence. Capturing the human dimension of the conflict so vividly… Tolan offers something both Israelis and Palestinians all too often tend to ignore: a ray of hope."

Now, when we find Israelis and Palestinians in an even more desperate place on that "endless chain," Tolan takes a moment to remind us of how deep the abyss of pain and resentment is by focusing on the part of the story we almost never hear about -- the Palestinian one -- and an anniversary few of us have ever considered. Tom

The Palestinian Catastrophe, Then and Now

By Sandy Tolan

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Montreal radio hosts Hazel Hill, Kahentinetha Horn, Roberta Keesick on Tuesday, July 11th

No One Is Illegal-Montreal Radio
part of CKUT's Open Conspiracy for Social Change

TUESDAY, July 11, 5-6pm (E.S.T.)
90.3fm on the airwaves in Montreal
or, listen online at

July 11 marks the anniversary of the 1990 police invasion of the Kanehsatake Mohawk Territory. This month's show highlights indigenous resistance across "Canada". The show includes:

--> An interview with HAZEL HILL of Six Nations, spokesperson for the Land Reclamation Site near Caledonia, Ontario. Since February 28, 2006, Six Nations people and their supporters have blocked further construction by Henco Industries on their land, saying they will stay until jurisdiction and title over the land is properly restored to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Land Reclamation continues; for more
information: or

--> An interview with KAHENTINETHA HORN of Mohawk Nation News (MNN), and an elder from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Kahentinetha reflects on the July 11 anniversary of the police invasion at Kanehsatake in 1990 (the so-called Oka Crisis).

Kahentinetha, with her daughters, was directly involved in the resistance at Kanehsatake. For background to the events of 1990, consult:

--> An interview with ROBERTA KEESICK of the Grassy Narrows indigenous community in Northwestern Ontario. Roberta is a trapper and grandmother, as well as a blockader against the clear-cut logging of Grassy Narrows territory. The blockade began in December 2002, and is the longest standing indigenous blockade in Canadian history. Roberta is participating in the Earth Justice Gathering (July 10-16, 2006) at
Grassy Narrows. For background to the struggle at Grassy Narrows,
consult: or

TUESDAY, July 11, 5-6pm (E.S.T.)
90.3fm on the airwaves in Montreal
or, listen online at

Produced and hosted by members of No One Is Illegal in Montreal.
514-859-9023 -- --

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Another US Secret Intelligence Program?

Another secret US intelligence program was revealed to the House Intelligence Committee by a government whistleblower.

The Bush administration has broken more laws and subverted the democratic process more often than any previous administration. Yet the neutered corporate mainstream media and the Democrats are not demanding explanations and impeachment. What will it take?

House Intelligence Committee only

briefed after whistleblower alerts chairman.


The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the White House briefed his committee on another "significant" intelligence program only after it was brought to his attention by a government whistleblower.

The New York Times reports that Rep. Peter Hoekstra, (R) of Michigan then pressed President Bush to tell him about the program.

"We can't be briefed on every little thing that they are doing," Mr. Hoekstra said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." "But in this case, there was at least one major – what I consider significant – activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on. And I want to set the standard there, that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing."

The White House declined to comment on the issue Sunday but said last week that it would continue to work closely with Mr. Hoekstra and the intelligence committees.

Read rest of this article here: The Christian Science Monitor.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Iraq Dispatches: "Packing It In"

"Packing It In"

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 09 July 2006

Surprise, surprise. In an interview with John King from CNN last Thursday, Dick Cheney said that withdrawing US forces from Iraq would be the "worst possible thing we could do."

Doing his best to stoke the always simmering fears of so many US residents (let us be careful how we use the word "citizen"), Cheney said of the terrorist groups in Iraq, "If we pull out, they'll follow us."

Because according to Cheney, "This is a global conflict. We've seen them attack in London and Madrid and Casablanca and Istanbul and Mombasa and East Africa. They've been, on a global basis, involved in this conflict. And it will continue - whether we complete the job or not in Iraq - only it'll get worse. Iraq will become a safe haven for terrorists. They'll use it in order to launch attacks against our friends and allies in that part of the world."

Lovely to watch how people like Cheney, and the minions who support his ilk, conveniently forget that there was no terrorism in Iraq prior to the US invasion/occupation. And one must love his "logic." For according to Cheney, "whether we complete the job or not in Iraq" his beloved "terrorism" will "continue" ... "only it'll get worse."

Then why stay in Iraq, Dick?

Because when Dick said, "only it'll get worse," if he'd been referring to the situation on the ground in Iraq, he'd have been 100% accurate.

For starters, things for the US military continue to disintegrate. With raping and pillaging being carried out by soldiers who have long since surrendered the war for "hearts and minds," other lesser reported developments underscore the trajectory of the military in Iraq.

According to the Arabic al-Sharqiyah Television channel, on July 6th : "Gunmen shot down two US Apaches in al-Zur village, north of al-Miqdadiyah in Diyala Governorate, northeast of Baghdad. Security sources and local residents said that both gunships were seen crashing in one of the village's farms, and reported that a US APC carrying 15 US soldiers was destroyed in clashes that raged in the cities and villages
located north of al-Miqdadiyah. The US Army is yet to comment on the incident, which comes at a time when US and Iraqi forces are besieging areas north of al-Miqdadiyah, including al-Zur village."

This comes at a time when the US military are once again aggressively attacking the forces of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr - an action which threatens to spread violence deeper into southern Iraq as well as unifying Shia and Sunni against the occupation forces. Think March and April, 2004 - a time when Shia and Sunni were, at times, literally fighting side by side against US soldiers in places like Najaf and Fallujah.

While the military futilely spins its giant wheels in the bloody sands of Iraq, it continues to be the Iraqi people who are suffering the most.

Here is a recent email from an Iraqi friend:

Dear Dahr,

How are you doing? I hope you are fine. I'm sorry for not keeping in touch with you, but as you know the situation is bad here and it gets so much worse and worse that words cannot describe it.

I really want you to remember someone named Abdul Razak who you met one day here. He was responsible for the corpses' freezer at one of the hospitals where you visited. This was the man who helped you as you nearly fainted when you tried to enter the freezer. This man, unfortunately, was found killed and his body thrown away on a street on the 4th of April of this year. I met his wife and his five children. The
oldest child is a girl who is 20 years old and the youngest is 6 years old. They live in a rented house. The father's salary was the only source of money for the whole family. Now, as he is dead, they have no source of money. I tried to help them by getting some donations for them from the staff working in the hospital where he used to work, but it seems that it is not enough. Of course for a big family like his, this makes it more difficult. But I hope we can ease their pain and help them manage their life by finding someone who can donate some money. I am wondering if you can get some donations for this family to start a new life and construct a small project to help them manage their life. Thank you in advance ...

I get these regularly, and several of my colleagues who have also worked in Iraq are telling me that they too are receiving requests for help nowadays.

Here is another email I received the day before the aforementioned, from another friend in Baghdad:

Dear friend,

Maybe this is the last message I am going to send ... really I don't have anyone here. I am like a foreigner in my own country. I am really feeling very afraid. I am living next to Al Sadr City and the Al Sadr militia is killing anyone who is Sunni, especially when any explosion attacks the Shia. They come to our zone and take Sunni people from their houses and kill them. They killed one of my relatives. They killed my neighbor, who was only 26 years old. My friend, the situation now in Baghdad is very bad. Do you know that there is no work and no safety, even in my own house? I'm very sad to tell you that I am very tired from changing my house. My family and I leave the house every month for three weeks and we run away like some one who did a crime. What is our crime?

We are in a very bad situation. It is so bad now. Please help, is all that I ask as we need help now. We are living, just waiting for our turn to die ... Please help us if you can ... I don't have any one to ask but you.

So while Iraqis are being killed or fearing death as they suffer through the daily hell that is the US occupation, Cheney, the real force behind this "administration," tells CNN, "No matter how you carve it - you can call it anything you want - but basically, it is packing it in, going home, persuading and convincing and validating the theory that the Americans don't have the stomach for this fight."

Guess what, Dick - moral and sane Americans "don't have the stomach for this fight" because this fight should have never taken place. And anyone with a soul, let alone a conscience, should be more than happy to see US troops in Iraq "packing it in."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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