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The Iraq thread 4

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No... _this_ is a laugh!



From the creator:

Quote[/b] ]I was watching the news with my father when one reporter said it was doubtful that the man on TV was the "real Saddam". My dad jokingly followed that statement with "please stand up" and a hearty laugh. That was the spark that got the creative juices flowing for this animation. I rushed to get it done in a day and a half so as not to be out of date. Who knew that it would remain topical for so long?

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Short news:

Quote[/b] ]Iraq gets ex-Jordanian APCs

The recently formed Iraqi Civil Intervention Force has taken delivery of ex-Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) BTR-94 8 x 8 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in addition to the United Defense M113A1 and Alvis Vickers Spartan APCs that have already been donated by the JAF.

Source: Jane's defence

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The video message from hostage Ken Bigley

Quote[/b] ]An edited transcript of Ken Bigley's video statement

"I am Ken Bigley from Liverpool ... and I think this is possibly my last chance to speak to someone who will listen from Europe.

I don't want to die, I don't deserve it and neither do those women held in the Iraqi prisons. Please, please release the female prisoners who are held in Iraqi prisons. Please help them, I need you to help, Mr Blair. You are now the only person on God's earth that I can speak to.

I also now realise how much the Iraqi people have suffered. The Iraqi children who haven't got their mothers, it's not fair. A child wants his mother, it's of no use keeping a mother in prison ... Let the mothers go back to their children, give these people a chance.

Mr Blair, I am nothing to you, it's just one person in the whole of the United Kingdom that's all. With a family like you've got a family, with children, like your children, your boys, your wife.

Please you can help, I know you can. These people are not asking for the world, they're asking for their wives and the mothers of their children.

Please Mr Blair, please show some of the compassion you say you have. Please, I don't know what I can say. Please I wish you could talk back to me, I wish you could tell me what I've got to do.

And ... also if there's anyone else that can can help me within the British political world, the Liberal party or the Conservative Party, if you can talk with Mr Blair and assist him. I know things aren't easy, I know things aren't black and white, white and black, but we can overcome this. I need to live. I've been here a week and they've taken good care of me. They have, under the circumstances, they've taken very good care of me.

You look at yourselves and think of your wife or think of your husband not being home, not because they committed a crime but because they just get arrested and are guilty by association, just thrown inside a jail and the families want these people home like you would want your family.

Would you like the Germans or any other country walking down the street with a gun, in England, in Scotland. I don't think so. And the Iraqis don't like foreign troops on their soil walking down the street with guns, it's not right and it's not fair. We need to pull the troops out and let the Iraqis run their own country, their own destiny.

They need to be left alone to rebuild their country and their own futures at the speed they want to do it and not be pushed and shoved.

People of Britain and people of Liverpool particularly, you are very special people, you are people who can say enough is enough. Enough is enough of playing with Iraq like a toy. Pack your bags and get out and let's hope we can come back and visit the country as a guest.

I've been in Iraq some months now, believe me they have nothing, they have nothing only their pride. They're kind people, please talk to, talk to everybody that you know who can ... who can let the decision makers know. And the Asian community, the Asian community in England, please, please open your mouths and be listened to and speak up for the freedom of Iraq. Please."

The video then shows three frames of text, written white on black in Arabic and English. The first reads: "Does a British (sic) worth anything to Blair." The second: "Will he try to save the hostage or will he not care?" A third asks: "Do leaders really care about their people?"

The political answer:

U.S., Iraq: Women won't be freed to spare Briton

Quote[/b] ]Colin McMahon

Chicago Tribune

Sept. 23, 2004 12:00 AM

BAGHDAD - With the fate of a British hostage in the hands of a murderous group of Islamic radicals, Iraqi and American officials denied Wednesday that they were about to free a female prisoner whose release the kidnappers have demanded.

Contradicting an announcement from his government in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said no decision was made to free Rihab Rashid Taha or another female scientist accused of playing key roles in Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.

Allawi rejected suggestions that the Iraqi government was bowing to Tawhid and Jihad, a group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks across Iraq. The group, which slaughtered two American contractors this week, has threatened to behead a British hostage unless U.S.-led occupation forces release female Iraqi prisoners.

"We have not been negotiating, and we will not negotiate with terrorists on the release of hostages," Allawi told the Associated Press in Washington, where he is to meet with President Bush today. "Really, my heart goes out for the victims of terrorism and their families, and we are trying to do our best to ensure the release of them."

Conflicting statements over the female prisoners suggested there may be disagreements within Allawi's interim government, or possibly between Iraqi and American authorities, on how to proceed in the face of the hostage crises.

At the same time, Allawi and the U.S.-led coalition are under increasing pressure to suppress the guerrilla and terrorist attacks that are devastating Iraq.

A car bombing Wednesday in a crowded commercial district killed at least 11 people and wounded more than 60, Iraqi officials and doctors said. Other violence, including clashes between U.S. forces and Shiite militants in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, left 13 Iraqis dead.

The United States, meanwhile, lost two soldiers in separate attacks in northern Iraq. One U.S. soldier was killed and four were wounded by a suicide attack in Baghdad.

The hostage-takings and beheadings have provided the most disturbing images from the recent spike in violence.

Eugene Armstrong, 52, was killed Monday, and his butchering was videotaped and posted on the Internet. Jack Hensley, 48, who, like Armstrong, was an American contractor working for Gulf Services Co. of the United Arab Emirates, was slaughtered Tuesday, and a tape of that killing appeared on the same Islamic Web site late Wednesday.

Armstrong's remains were found Tuesday in Baghdad, and Hensley's remains were found Wednesday.

Now the family of 62-year-old British engineer Kenneth Bigley, who was abducted last week with the two Americans from a Baghdad house, waits to learn his fate.

"We continue to do everything we can to secure Kenneth Bigley's safe release, but it would be idle to pretend that there's a great deal of hope," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. "We cannot get into a situation - and I believe the family understands this - where we start bargaining with terrorists and kidnappers."

In a Web statement reiterating its demand that all Iraqi female prisoners be released, the Zarqawi group vowed again to kill Bigley. The group also posted a video showing Bigley begging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to intervene and save his life.

Zarqawi's decision to demand the release of Muslim women played into the Iraqi public's resentment over U.S. detention policies. The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison offended many Iraqis and fueled rumors that U.S. soldiers were sexually abusing Muslim women in jails across Iraq.

The U.S. military says it has only two Iraqi women in custody: Taha, who was dubbed "Dr. Germ" for her role in Iraq's anthrax program; and biotechnology expert Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, known as "Mrs. Anthrax."

and the reactions:

Hostage's brother accuses US over freedom moves

Quote[/b] ]The brother of British hostage Kenneth Bigley today accused the American government of "sabotaging" moves to free his brother.

Paul Bigley said that his brother had been granted a "stay of execution" by yesterday's announcement by Iraqi authorities that they would free female prisoner Dr Rihab Taha - a key demand of the hostage-takers.

But the American authorities in Iraq moved swiftly to say that the former germ warfare specialist, who is in their custody, would not be freed.

Following the release of a direct video plea from Mr Bigley to ask Prime Minister Tony Blair to intervene, Paul Bigley today said that the UK and US should keep out of what should be an internal Iraqi affair.

He said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "Mr Blair can go fishing as far as I'm concerned. He hasn't got to call or do anything.

"All the powers have to do now is allow the Iraqis to conduct their own internal affairs the way they should be doing. They have been handed over sovereignty to conduct their business on a day-to-day basis.

"A judge has made a legal decision to release three people, one female and two males. The Minister of Justice has endorsed this, and this gentleman published this on the international news.

"Based on this, together with my personal lobbying in the background in the Middle East, we had a stay of execution and we have saved my brother's life for at least 24 hours.

"That was a shadow of light in a big, long, dark, damp, filthy, cold tunnel.

"Now this has been sabotaged."

Mr Bigley asked: "Is this a puppet Government or the Americans moving the goalposts to suit their own aims again? What is going on here?

"Leave the Iraqis to do their own Iraqi business."

Mr Bigley's captors released a video yesterday in which the 62-year-old hostage broke down and pleaded with Mr Blair to save his life.

The engineer faces a gruesome execution if his kidnappers' demands are not met as he is now the only survivor of three men snatched from Baghdad six days ago.

His family have released a statement pleading with the kidnappers to spare Mr Bigley's life.

Meanwhile, the brutal Tawhid and Jihad group has also released another video showing the apparent beheading of his fellow hostage, American Jack Hensley.

The grisly scenes followed the beheading of the third man, American Eugene Armstrong, shown on an Islamic website on Monday.

The group, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had threatened that Mr Bigley would suffer the same fate if women prisoners are not released from Iraqi jails.

The trio were seized from the garden of their home in the wealthy al-Mansour district of Baghdad without a struggle last Thursday.

They were working for Middle East-based Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services. Mr Bigley was just days from retirement.

I wonder what would happen if a brother of Bush was taken hostage in Iraq. Or someone of his beloved TBA ?

Do you think it would run the same way then ?

It´s really disgusting that the US override an Iraqi decision and end the life of a guy, that could have been probably saved...

Well the Bush way. Great !

Thx Toni, thx George. No laundry will ever be able to wash away the blood from them.

I hope they will both have to pay for what they´ve done oneday. A very painful day hopefully. Only for all those who started this mess and still try to sell it as a good thing for the world...

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I think this was pretty much telling on how independent the Iraqis really are. Sovereignty, yeah right - as long as they don't happen to decide something that their conquerors disagree with.

The irony is that it turned out that the Iraqis were more interested in the well-being of the Americans than the Americans and the British.

Although on the whole, I think it would have been a big mistake to start releasing prisoners. I think it would directly encourage more kidnappings, and since there are plenty of Americans and Britons in Iraq, it could go on for quite a while. (As opposed to the Philippines who only had a dozen of soldiers in Iraq and IMO made a correct decision not to let one of its people die just out of principle.)

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The tragic thing is that the release was not related to the hostage in any way. It was a legal process within Iraq that decided to set them free because the allegations they were put to prison for were not justified. Call it coincidence but the Iraqui court decision was not related to the hostages.

Even more troubling if the US influence the juridical system in Iraq that way. Can´t they just mess around at the prisons they run with the consequences we all know about ?

Why do they have to stick their fingers into the souvereign decision of a souvereign country ?

Freedom? Democracy ? Obviously not if it doesn´t fit their interests...

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taken from somewere else...

Quote[/b] ]Trial by Fire

On Ground in Iraq,

Capt. Ayers Writes

His Own Playbook

Thrust Into New Kind of War,

Junior Officers Become

Army's Leading Experts

Risky Deal With Village Sheik



September 22, 2004; Page A1

RAMADI, Iraq -- In the space of four minutes in May, two Humvees in Capt. Nicholas Ayers's unit were hit by roadside bombs. In the chaos, one vehicle was left alone as soldiers, injured and under fire, took cover in a school and radioed for help.

By the time Capt. Ayers arrived on the scene, Iraqis had looted the Humvee's machine gun and high-tech gun sights. Losing equipment to the enemy is a mistake that can ruin an officer's career. Standard Army practice holds that the area should be searched immediately.

Instead, Capt. Ayers, 29 years old, took a risk. He went to the village sheik's house. As a sign of respect, he said, he wouldn't search the village. But he gave the local leader 48 hours to find and return the equipment. "If we don't get the equipment back, I am going to come back with my men and tear apart every house in this village," he recalls saying. If the gear was returned, he promised to reduce patrols in the area.

The gamble ran counter to Capt. Ayers's training, which states that the longer troops wait to search an area, the less chance they'll find what they are looking for. His bosses told him he had made a huge blunder. Two days later, though, the sheik returned every scrap of looted equipment to the Army. Later, he would pay a heavy price for that move.

"I was floored," Capt. Ayers says. "The incident made me rethink the tactics I was using, my relationship with the local sheiks. It made me rethink just about everything."

Fighting the volatile, growing insurgency in Iraq is putting increased responsibility on younger, lower-ranking officers, who are learning through improvisation and error. For the Army, the heavy reliance on officers such as Capt. Ayers is a significant change. As the war in Iraq has turned into a far different kind of battle than the Army expected, it is triggering major shifts in how the service uses and equips soldiers and remaking its historically rigid and hierarchical command structure.

In May 2002, before the Iraq war, a study commissioned by the Army's top-ranking general concluded "the reality in the Army is that junior officers are seldom given opportunities to be innovative, plan training or to make decisions; fail, learn and try again."

Earlier this summer, the same team, led by retired Lt. Col. Leonard Wong, concluded: "Junior officers have become the experts on the situation in Iraq, not higher headquarters." The fast-moving insurgency is forcing lower-ranking officers, who spend more time in the field, to take a more prominent role.

Sharing Knowledge

Captains are sharing lessons via e-mail and on Web sites such as www companycommand.com. Subjects range from dealing with sheiks to teaching a heavy-armor unit, accustomed to fighting inside 70-ton tanks, how to patrol on foot with rifles. Lt. Gen. William Wallace has told superiors that officers returning from Iraq who attend the Army's elite Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., know more about counterinsurgency than their instructors. The change has forced instructors there to shift from traditional lectures to discussion-oriented classes.

"This is entirely a bottom-up war. It is the platoon leaders and company commanders that are fighting it," says Maj. John Nagl, third-in-command of an 850-man battalion based nine miles from Fallujah.

It's a shift the Army never made in Vietnam -- the last time it fought an insurgency. In that war, the Army fought essentially as it had in World War II, with large formations commanded by senior officers and lots of firepower. Younger officers in the field advocated a different approach, involving smaller patrols and the training of local forces, but the Army rejected such ideas, says Maj. Nagl, who wrote a 2002 book on insurgencies.

Maj. Nagl concludes the Army was "organizationally disposed against learning how to fight and win counterinsurgency warfare." Recently the Army's top officer, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, gave copies of Maj. Nagl's book "Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam," to all his four-star generals.

When Vietnam ended, the Army didn't significantly change its way of operating. Instead, it was eager to return to its roots and prepare for more-conventional battles against the rigid Soviet Army. In 1987, Col. Robert Leicht, then a professor at the Army's Command and General Staff College, set out to teach a class on counterinsurgency warfare. He visited the Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School in North Carolina, looking for lessons from the Vietnam era. "The old graybeard there told me that in 1975 he was told to get rid of all the Vietnam stuff," Col. Leicht says.

'Pathological Resistance'

Today, some question whether the Army is changing fast enough. Bruce Hoffman, who served as a senior U.S. adviser in Baghdad on counterinsurgency this year, says the U.S. military has shown an almost "pathological resistance" to adapting to the demands of guerrilla fighting. Like many experts, he says the Army's success in Iraq will depend largely on the ability of officers on the ground to come up with new solutions to defeat the insurgency. Battling guerrilla warfare depends less on firepower, and more on human intelligence, cultural sensitivity and reconstruction.

"The big challenge the Army faces is harnessing the experience of the young field officers and incorporating it into training and doctrine," Mr. Hoffman says.

Army officials say the service is adapting to new demands. Gen. Schoomaker says the Army is in the midst of the most wide-ranging changes since World War II, aimed at better preparing it for the kinds of wars it is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I've compared this to tuning a car engine while the engine is running, which is not only a complex task but dangerous as well," he said recently.

In Capt. Ayers's sector, in the heart of the Sunni triangle, locals nicknamed him "Mosool Kabeer" or "Big Chief." In addition to running raids and patrols, his duties have included overseeing a 200-man Iraqi police force and millions of dollars in reconstruction projects. Earlier this year, local guerrillas felt so threatened by him they distributed fliers in town offering a reward for his assassination.

The vast geography of the region is one reason young officers are given such latitude to innovate and make decisions. Capt. Ayers is one of four company commanders who report to Lt. Col. Thomas Hollis, whose battalion is responsible for about 1,500 square miles. In the kind of warfare he was trained for -- using tanks, heavy artillery and air power -- his unit would cover one-tenth of that area.

"I tell my captains you have to understand the inner workings of the communities in your area," Col. Hollis says. "You have to figure out who the key leaders are, you need to know who their relatives are, and what businesses they are involved in."

Capt. Ayers and his peers are far less influenced by the Army culture that has long viewed firepower-intensive, tank-on-tank battles, like the 1991 Gulf War, as the epitome of land warfare. Many of today's captains were in junior high school when the 1991 war was fought. Capt. Ayers, the son of a Vietnam veteran, grew up in Southern California, and went on to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Before coming to Iraq in August 2003, the defining event of his career was his deployment to Kosovo.

In Kosovo, Capt. Ayers was in charge of four small towns, populated by a total of about 4,000 people. Based on his experience there, he knew he had to figure out who was in charge of the area. In Kosovo, that was easy. Each town had a mayor. In Ramadi, there is a confusing network of more than 100 tribes, subtribes, sheiks and subsheiks. Loyalties shifted. "I quickly learned that everyone here likes to say they are in charge," he says.

To get a grip on who was really running things, Capt. Ayers sent his men out with a survey. He asked the locals who their top sheik was and then crosschecked the answers against what the sheiks were telling him.

Capt. Ayers also set out to win over his sector's police force. Because local police know the culture, speak the language and are aware of age-old grudges, they are far more likely to spot the enemy. When Capt. Ayers first asked the Iraqi police to patrol with his men, they told him they wanted nothing to do with Americans. After weeks of fruitless negotiations, he cajoled two patrolmen into his Humvee. Between midnight and 1 a.m. they drove through his sector's empty streets, as Capt. Ayers tried to assure them they could work together.

He met with the police chief, Lt. Col. Mohammed Saleh Taher, almost daily, shared meals with his family and got vehicles, guns and body armor for his men. Soon Capt. Ayers convinced the police chief to fire anyone who refused to patrol with the Americans. Desperate for a paycheck, the Iraqi police climbed into the U.S. Humvees.

Brutal Attacks

The public cooperation drew brutal attacks from the insurgents. In January, they murdered Col. Mohammed and three of his bodyguards at the colonel's home. Two days later, they attacked the police station, killing five more Iraqi police officers.

After the murders, Capt. Ayers handed out crisp $100 bills to the families of Col. Mohammed and the bodyguards so they could bury their dead. Most of the families were poor, some living in houses with broken windows. "Col. Mohammed was a good friend of mine," he said, as he handed out the money and expressed condolences. "We are working to make sure that whoever did this will not get away."

Col. Mohammed's family told him that the police chief's second-in-command had played a role in the chief's murder. Capt. Ayers believed the second-in-command was involved with the insurgency. He felt safer dealing with the third-in-command, Col. Mohammed's brother -- even though locals and other police officers said the brother had a drinking problem and had been extorting money from his men in exchange for promotions.

"I knew [Col. Mohammed's brother] wouldn't have me killed and I couldn't say the same for the alternatives," says Capt. Ayers. Working with Col. Hollis, he arranged to have the second-in-command transferred to a city near the Syrian border. Despite suspicions, there wasn't definitive evidence that the man had been involved with the murder of Col. Mohammed or the insurgency. No one has been arrested for the killings.

The murdered colonel's brother was promoted to chief of police, even though locals complained he continued to extort money from his officers.

"How much corruption is too much?" Capt. Ayers asks. "That's something they don't teach you before you come here."

Capt. Ayers took lessons from his fellow captains. In April, Capt. Jesse Beaudin convinced a friend from the U.S. to send backpacks, notebooks and pencils for schoolchildren. Kids mobbed troops for the goods whenever they went out on patrol. "The kids provided security. No one attacked us when we were surrounded by children," Capt. Beaudin says. After hearing about this tactic at the dining hall, Capt. Ayers's men also wrote home requesting school supplies.

The battalion's captains also worked together to fashion a solution to attacks on supply convoys. In April, the attacks were so severe that some military fuel sites in western Iraq were down to two days' worth of fuel. Units were running low on water and food.

Most of the convoy attacks began with a remote-detonated roadside bomb. The Army had long assumed most of the bombs were laid at night. Capt. Ayers sent out small teams of snipers with night-vision equipment to pick off people planting bombs. They couldn't find any.

Talking with fellow company commanders, Capt. Ayers guessed that the bombs were being laid during the day. He theorized the locals were too scared to stop the insurgents or to turn them in to the Americans. Capt. Ayers asked his boss, Col. Hollis, if he could pull some his troops out of the villages and post them on highway overpasses around the clock. Instead of trying to catch the insurgents, he would try to deter the attacks with an overt presence.

The roadside bombs stopped almost overnight. In May, Col. Hollis ordered his other company commanders to adopt the same approach. Since then there hasn't been an attack on the 38 miles of highway overseen by the battalion -- a huge change from April when the U.S. was losing a service member to injury or death on the stretch every 36 hours.

Although the tactic has been effective, soldiers hate sitting for hours and watching traffic. They worry that cutting back on neighborhood patrols has given insurgents free rein in town.

On a recent day, Capt. Ayers and his troops jumped in their Humvee and raced toward a giant column of smoke rising near the police station. Insurgents in a white Opal sedan had fired into an Iraqi truck that had been hauling equipment for the Americans. When the wounded truck driver pulled over, insurgents set the vehicle on fire.

At the scene, Capt. Ayers picked up the spent shell casings to identify the weapon the insurgents used. He interviewed witnesses and studied the skid marks the truck had left on the road. The Army had never trained him for detective work, but he picked up these skills on the job.

When the fire was extinguished, the charred truck was towed to the police station. The next morning, insurgents launched a rocket attack on Capt. Ayers's base. The barracks' windows were blown open, but no one was hurt. A similar attack in May killed eight soldiers. Later the same day, insurgents lit the charred truck, still parked in the police department's lot, on fire again. The terrified police didn't try to stop them.

Capt. Ayers went back to the police station and confronted the new police chief, Maj. Khalid Ibrahim, who had been appointed by the new Iraqi Interior Ministry. (The previous chief, whose appointment Capt. Ayers had arranged, had been transferred for firing his pistol at one of his officers and demanding money from his officers.)

"How could you let this happen?" Capt. Ayers asked Maj. Khalid, pointing to the still-smoldering truck.

"I am very sorry," the 50-year-old chief said.

"You don't need to apologize to me, you need to do better," Capt. Ayers replied.

The chief promised to step up patrols in the area where the rockets were fired.

Back at his barracks, surrounded by pictures of his wife and two children, ages 1 and 2, Capt. Ayers seemed to be looking for something positive in the day's events. The new chief is an improvement over his predecessor, he said. "Every day that Iraqi police station is still standing is a victory. It is a small bastion of government control," he added.

Last week, after 12 months in Iraq, Capt. Ayers returned to his home in Kansas. He's prepared a tome full of advice for his replacement. In the book are histories of the local sheiks and tribes, their grudges and fleeting alliances. There is a section on funeral etiquette.

He also wrote a section on the sheik who helped him get the machine gun back. A few days after the incident, insurgents, angry that he had aided the Americans, murdered the sheik's son. "I thought if he had enough influence to get the stuff back, he also had enough influence" to protect his family, Capt. Ayers now says. "I was wrong." Capt. Ayers says he advised his replacement to handle the sheik with deference.

Capt. Ayers, who was recently selected by the Army to teach at West Point, has begun to think about how a young soldier could prepare for what he's been through. Before deploying to Iraq, he and his soldiers fought a giant mock tank battle at the National Training Center. It wasn't helpful.

Instead, he says, "I guess I'd drop soldiers in a foreign high school and give them two days to figure out all the cliques. Who are the cool kids? Who are the geeks?" he says. That would be pretty close to what he has been doing in Iraq, he says, with one big exception: There would also have to be people in the high school trying to kill the soldiers.

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A shame that this wasn't done at the very beginning and adopted as policy. Events like this shouldn't be specials in a newspaper but a regualr occurance. However it is doubtful if that can ever happen now, as Iraq now seems to be too far gone.

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Quote[/b] ]WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday raised the possibility that Iraq could conduct only limited elections in January, excluding places where violence was considered too severe for people to go to polls.

"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

"Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said.

"dude, wheres my democracy?"

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Oh I´m pretty sure the ones within the regions that are NOT allowed to vote to the likes of the US will be extremely happy. Is this man insane ?

Is the TBA insane? What this senile man said is that some are priviliged to vvote while other "unworthy" Iraqis are not.

Sit back and watch hell break loose if this should happen.

What an arrogant asshole  mad_o.gif

Edit: A "not so perfect vote" may have worked in the US but not in Iraq....

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Quote[/b] ]"dude, wheres my democracy?"

More like "Dude, could you help me pick up all the parts of the election worker who was just blown up?"

Quote[/b] ]"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great,"

Did anyone of you read this? 75%-80% would be capable of voting, it's just that it's unrealistic to force public workers into working in a very lethal environment.

Quote[/b] ]What this senile man said is that some are priviliged to vvote while other "unworthy" Iraqis are not.

No, he said that some areas are too dangerous to hold elections in. That's some highly selective reading you're doing. No, the election will not be perfect, but don't you think it's a little unreasonable to ask some government employees to go become sitting ducks in Fallujah? Of course it's easy for you to call for voting in 100% of the country: You wouldn't have to work in or near a voting booth in Fallujah or Al-Sadr city.

Obviously all the booths will face some danger from terrorists, but trying to set up booths in the worst hot spots is akin to dressing up in a white sheet, walking into a crowded Harlem bar, and bursting into an enthusiastic version of "Dixie" while waving a Confederate flag.

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Quote[/b] ]Of course it's easy for you to call for voting in 100% of the country: You wouldn't have to work in or near a voting booth in Fallujah or Al-Sadr city.

Its funny you mention that considering you support this war, and it ain't you dodging car bombs and snipers.

You sure are mighty brave.

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Quote[/b] ]Its funny you mention that considering you support this war, and it ain't you dodging car bombs and snipers.

No, because right now I'm just pointing out that risking lives for voting in these areas doesn't make much sense. It's Bals who's making the case that some poor government officials need to suicidally charge into hot spots to get the vote.

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Yeah, that makes sense - compromise the basic democratic principles because you're too incompetent to bring order to the place.

Sounds like the regular Iraq snafu to me. It's right on the level of the ever-growing "no-go" zones in Iraq.

Problem: The insurgency is growing and in more and more places you risk to get shot at, especially if driving a hummer.

US Military Solution: Declare the area "no-go" and stay out.

Now remember kids: what you don't see can't hurt you We're all in happy-happy land. Lalalala.

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It's Bals who's making the case that some poor government officials need to suicidally charge into hot spots to get the vote.


Cause isn't that exactly what you are saying for Bush and the Iraq War?

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Worth adding to this thread:

Quote[/b] ]<span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'>If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?</span>

by Prof. Juan Cole, U. of Michigan

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?

What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?

What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every year?

What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?

What if, from time to time, the US Army besieged Virginia Beach, killing hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers? What if entire platoons of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery, and were bombarded by US Air Force warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves and even pulverizing the Vietnam Memorial over on the Mall? What if the National Council of Churches had to call for a popular march of thousands of believers to converge on the National Cathedral to stop the US Army from demolishing it to get at a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?

What if there were virtually no commercial air traffic in the country? What if many roads were highly dangerous, especially Interstate 95 from Richmond to Washington, DC, and I-95 and I-91 up to Boston? If you got on I-95 anywhere along that over 500-mile stretch, you would risk being carjacked, kidnapped, or having your car sprayed with machine gun fire.

What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston and Miami? What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly? What if unemployment hovered around 40%?

What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing were brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy in these times of crisis?

What if municipal elections were cancelled and cliques close to the new "president" quietly installed in the statehouses as "governors?" What if several of these governors (especially of Montana and Wyoming) were assassinated soon after taking office or resigned when their children were taken hostage by guerrillas?

What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner?

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Quote[/b] ]It's Bals who's making the case that some poor government officials need to suicidally charge into hot spots to get the vote.

Bullshit. It´s Rumsfeld who obviously doesn´t know much about the things the Iraqis want to see. If the are selective elections for a certain group of people only, it will be the start of the end of the days of coalition soldiers on Iraq´s soil. Rumsfeld endangers his own troops by saying such bullshit as the Iraqis won´t tolerate such an approach to "democracy". It´s either 100 percent or nothing at all.

Mission accomplished...I wonder wich of the full mouthed proposals were fulfilled yet or will be fulfilled in the future. Right now it looks like the coalition wasted this mission that much that they should be ashamed for the rest of their lives. I´m sorry for all the lives that were ended for these incompetent morons in the TBA.

And it still surprises me that they have some flat level supporters who seem to have problems in answering a 1+1 question....

And remember...the coalition is responsible for the security situation in Iraq. While they try to put it on the non-existant Iraqi forces to save some votes for November it is their DUTY to provide security in Iraq. Or did Bush say different ?

I´d like to know what you think the Iraqis will do when some of them are not alllowed to vote. Oh yes they are happy...I know...

They will be so happy that they will grab their RPG´s and AK´s and show you how democracy looks.

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Some more comments on the "election":

Quote[/b] ]

Violence, Allawi, Sistani and Elections

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani continues to be concerned as to whether elections will be held in January in Iraq, and whether the outcome will reflect the Shiite majority in Iraq. He is worried that the system adopted, of nation-wide party lists, favors a small set of parties, mainly expatriate. Since the six major parties listed include the two (Sunni) Kurdish parties and the largely Sunni Iraqi National Accord (primarily ex-Baathists) led by Iyad Allawi, as well as the mixed Iraqi National Congress, I think Sistani is afraid that the al-Da`wa and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq--the two main Shiite parties-- could end up with a minority in parliament.

Both Bush and Allawi affirmed on Thursday that elections would be held as promised. Donald Rumsfeld, whose uncontrollable mouth is sometimes useful insofar as he lets the truth slip, said that elections might not be possible in all the provinces. Allawi minimized the violence, saying that it was confined to 3 of Iraq's 18 provinces. This assertion is simply untrue, and is anyway misleading because Baghdad is one of the three Allawi had in mind! Could an election that excluded the capital, with at least 5 million inhabitants, be considered valid? Denis D. Gray of AP notes:

"However, at least six provinces - Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh - have been the scene of significant attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi authorities in the past month. The only areas not plagued by bloodshed are the three northern provinces controlled by Kurds. The situation in many areas, however, is unknown since journalists' travel is restricted by security fears."

(Why is it that only print journalists, and increasingly not television ones, challenge such disinformation from politicians any more?)

The situation is even worse than Gray allows. As recently as August, the British expended 100,000 rounds of ammunition in Maysan province at Amara, saying they had the most intense fighting since the Korean War! Likewise there was heavy fighting in Wasit (Kut) and Najaf. In the map below I made the present security-challenged provinces red, and those that saw recent heavy fighting purple. I ask you if this looks like the problems are in "3 of 18 provinces," or whether it looks to you like elections held only in the white areas (as Donald Rumsfeld seems to envision) would produce a legitimate government:


The Allawi/ Rumsfeld logic, moreover, presumes that the guerrilla resistance is only able to disrupt the elections in the Sunni Arab provinces. But they have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to strike all over the country. If a long line of prospective voters were standing in Nasiriyah in the south, do you seriously think the guerrillas couldn't manage to direct some rocket-propelled grenade fire at them? Set off a car bomb?


Moreover, not having elections in al-Anbar and West Baghdad would be a disaster. The red areas are where the Sunni Arab former ruling minority is situated. They are the backbone of the guerrilla war. If they feel unrepresented by the new government, what incentive do they have to cease their warfare?

On the other hand, if the elections are not held or if their results are widely considered illegitimate, there is a danger that that result will radicalize Sistani and cause him to bring the masses into the street.

Odysseus had to steer between the two monsters of Scylla and Charybdis. So to does the US in Iraq.

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Quote[/b] ]WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Sixty percent of Poles would support an immediate withdrawal of the country's soldiers from Iraq, while more than 70 percent believe their government made a mistake in sending troops there, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Poland contributed troops to last year's U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein and now commands a 6,000-strong multinational peacekeeping force in central Iraq that includes some 2,400 Poles.

While the deployment has broad mainstream political support, polls over recent months have shown growing public opposition, with more than half opposing Poland's presence in Iraq.

The OBOP polling agency, which questioned 1,004 Poles Sept. 2-5, found that 60 percent would support an immediate pullout, while 36 percent opposed the idea.

The survey also found that 71 percent believed Poland made a mistake in sending troops and 23 percent disagreed. It gave a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The government has said it hopes to scale back the Polish presence in Iraq early next year, citing expectations that elections planned for January will have a stabilizing effect.

Thirteen Polish soldiers have been killed in Iraq so far.

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Quote[/b] ]WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has suggested that parts of Iraq might be excluded from elections set for January because of rising violence.

That violence continued on Friday, as U.S. warplanes pounded targets in the Sunni Triangle town of Falluja and at least four Iraqis were killed and 10 others wounded in an attack by insurgents in Baghdad.

On Thursday, Rumsfeld had expressed optimism that elections will push through as scheduled.

But at a U.S. Senate Committee hearing he raised the possibility polls might not be held in all of Iraq.

"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said, hours after the leaders of the United States and Iraq met in Washington.

"Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said. (Full story)

On Friday, Rumsfeld is set to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is in the United States. The two are expected to talk about security as insurgents in Iraq use suicide bombings, hostage-takings, beheadings and other tactics to block Iraq's progress.

all is well in Iraq?

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Quote[/b] ]"Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said.

Hmm they should do the same for American election too then , get a few of those gun toting crackpots raise a bit of violence in Pro-Bush area and then use this logic lets see how TBA likes that wink_o.gif

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Quote[/b] ]Official: Iraq Elections Are Open to All

35 minutes ago Add White House - AP Cabinet & State to My Yahoo!

By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The No. 2 official at the State Department said Friday that the elections planned for January in Iraq (news - web sites) must be "open to all citizens," contradicting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who has suggested that voting might not be possible in the more-violent areas.

"We're going to have an election that is free and open and that has to be open to all citizens. It's got to be our best effort to get it into troubled areas as well," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a House committee Friday, after being asked about Rumsfeld's words.

Armitage told reporters after the hearing that: "We absolutely want to hold them in all parts of Iraq." Asked if partial elections were under consideration, he said: "No. Not now. Not that I know of."

Rumsfeld had first said Thursday — and reiterated in a meeting with reporters Friday before Armitage spoke — that he believes the elections should go ahead. But Rumsfeld also suggested the balloting may be impossible in areas where the potential for violence is too great.

"We recognize there is an increased level of violence as we move toward these elections," Rumsfeld said to reporters Friday after meeting with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi at the Pentagon (news - web sites).

Rumsfeld said: "Every Iraqi deserves the right to vote. We and the government of Iraq intend to see that the elections are held, intend to see that they're held on time, and to do everything possible to see that that happens, and to see that every Iraqi has the right to vote."

But Rumsfeld again acknowledged that some areas may be inaccessible to voting. On Thursday, he told a Senate committee that Iraqis may "have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."

Allawi has not commented on Rumsfeld's remarks.

Some officials have raised the possibility of more troops going to Iraq to assist in elections security at a time when violence is expected to be high. Gen. John Abizaid has said he expects Iraqi and possible international troops to do the job.

But it is likely that during the elections the U.S. military will have extra troops in the country anyway, Army officials said Friday.

Because the Army is rotating fresh troops into Iraq this fall and winter to replace those whose one-year tours are ending, it expects to have an overlap of 10,000 to 15,000 extra U.S. soldiers in January when the 3rd Infantry Division's four brigades arrive to replace the 1st Cavalry Division, the Army officials said Friday.

Allawi, during a speech Thursday after an address to Congress and talks with President Bush (news - web sites), expressed annoyance with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) for suggesting last week that there could not be "credible elections" if violence doesn't abate by January.

Allawi said he planned to ask Annan for a clarification of his remarks during a meeting in New York on Friday before heading home.

Allawi said he asked U.N. officials in Iraq whether they were privy to inside information about a postponement. Their answer was no, the prime minister said.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), said Rumsfeld's comments were at odds with President Bush's own upbeat remarks earlier Thursday about Iraq's future. "For a White House that likes to condemn mixed signals, it certainly is sending out a few of its own," Singer said.

Kerry contends Bush has been dishonest about the war's rationale and cost and lacks an effective strategy to end the crisis. Kerry urges a start of troop withdrawals within six months and complete pullout in four years.

But Bush and Allawi, appearing together at a White House Rose Garden news conference on Thursday, said the United States must stand and fight.

Allawi, speaking later, acknowledged that the January elections "may not be 100 percent safe" but insisted that the country is making progress.

"Security is going to get better," he said. "We have plans in place. We hope it will work."

As for the violence increasingly buffeting his country and his leadership, Allawi added, "We are inflicting a lot of losses, very heavy losses." As a direct result, the insurgents are "becoming more desperate" and resorting to suicide bombings, he said.

Iraq's interim constitution says elections for a national assembly must be held by Jan. 31.

September is shaping up as one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops since the Iraq conflict started 18 months ago.

In addition, the State Department recently decided to redirect significant funds to build up Iraqi security forces, sacrificing a number of reconstruction projects.

So it goes,


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I bet they will come up with the election limitation after elections in the USA. Wanna bet ?

Or they will say that all are free to come to certain regions to vote...

Haha this Bush campaign mixed with the blood in Iraq is really a wonderful thing to have crazy_o.gif

Throw him and his incompetent TBA out of the White House and put them to court ! mad_o.gif

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