Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Daily Report

Our War Far From Over

According to this article from Yahoo, some the largest demonstration in US history may take place in August when a coalition of Anti-War groups gather to protest the war and occupation as well as GOP foreign policy in general.

I may make an attempt to attend this. And if so, will do a full report.

Dean Maintains Opposition

According to an article posted to Common Dreams, Howard Dean despite being pleased at the capture of Saddam Hussein, still maintains his opposition to the War In Iraq. Including saying that the capture does nothing to help in the defeat of Al Quadea and thier allies.

Received From A Message Board--reprinted in entirity

Got Saddam But Not Much Else

By Maria Tomchick

Saddam is in custody, but the war's not over yet. The U.S. faces several
important hurdles in the bringing the war to an end and extricating U.S.
troops from a seemingly endless fracas.

The most critical problem involves the ceaseless guerrilla attacks.
According to a series of interviews with Iraqi guerrillas conducted by
the French Press Agency, the guerrillas are composed of three main
groups, only one of which supports Saddam Hussein. Of the other two
groups one is Iraqi Islamists, who are fighting to drive the infidel
Americans from Iraq's holy places. The third group is composed of
nationalists -- disaffected, anti-Saddam, former Baath party members and
other pan-Arabists -- who are fighting a war of liberation. And,
unsurprisingly, these groups often coordinate their attacks, to
devastating effect.

Nor is it safe to assume that the pro-Saddam faction is now beheaded.
U.S. military officers said that, when they pulled Saddam Hussein out of
his hole in the ground, he had no radio or other communications
equipment. Clearly, he wasn't coordinating any attacks, issuing any
orders, or in charge of any guerrilla movements.

The main value of having Saddam in custody is that it removes a symbol,
a source of inspiration for a sizable contingent of the guerrillas. But
to hope that this will bring an immediate end to the war is to forget
how adaptable human loyalties are. If Saddam Hussein has not been
directing guerrilla attacks, someone else surely has, and that person or
group of people command as much or more loyalty than Saddam ever has. In
the end, a figurehead is merely a figurehead; the people who do the
practical work -- who have the face-to-face contact and provide the
weapons and money -- are the ones who command the loyalty of their
troops. And not all the guerrillas look to Saddam for inspiration -- not
when there are plenty of other reasons to rebel in Iraq these days.

Take, for example, U.S. military tactics in the Sunni triangle, which
have increasingly mirrored failed Israeli military tactics in the
Occupied Territories. This past week, both U.S. military planners and
Israeli sources have told the press that, yes, U.S. military officers
have studied Israeli tactics in the West Bank. And they are now applying
those lessons in Iraq.

Such tactics include: destroying buildings suspected of being guerrilla
hideouts, bulldozing the homes of suspected guerrillas and their family
members, arresting the relatives of suspected guerrillas and/or people
who may have information about the guerrillas, and surrounding entire
villages with razor wire, forcing the occupants to pass through a single
checkpoint in order to come and go. If people can't make it back through
crowded checkpoints before curfew, they have to spend the night in the
desert. At these checkpoints, Iraqis must show ID cards issued by the
U.S. military and printed only in English. Humiliated Iraqis are drawing
clear parallels to the Palestinian situation, and that should be a
warning sign for the U.S. military. Unfortunately, it's going unheeded.

Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, the man in charge of surrounding the village
of Abu Hishma with razor wire, told the New York Times, "With a heavy
dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we
can convince these people we are here to help them." A sign posted on
the wire fence reads "This fence is here for your protection. Do not
approach or try to cross or you will be shot."

One of the "heavy doses of fear and violence" that the U.S. military is
currently employing is the use of assassination squads, modeled on the
same squads the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have used in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip. The U.S. military's new Task Force 121 is being trained
by the IDF at Fort Bragg to carry out assassinations of suspected
guerrilla leaders. The Guardian newspaper of London recently noted that
U.S. special forces teams are already operating inside Syria in an
attempt to kill "foreign jihadists" before they cross the border,
raising questions of "who is a jihadist and how do we define that?" and
"how do we know who's planning to cross the border?" -- not to mention
the ultimate question of the legality of assassination under
international law.

At least one of those questions can be answered. A principle planner
behind Task Force 121 is Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin who, in
October, told an Oregon church congregation that the U.S. is a
"Christian army" at war with Satan. Such fanatics will stretch the
definition of "foreign jihadists" to cover whomever they wish to target.
And such brutal tactics will be as successful in Iraq as they've been in
the Occupied Territories, where assassinations have led to ever more
militant attacks against Israeli troops and civilians.

On the "money for projects" end, the Bush administration has failed
miserably so far. The major donor's conference in October brought large
pledges, but few of them have been honored because of the deteriorating
security situation in Iraq and the ongoing, world-wide economic slump.
The bulk of the money for reconstruction in Iraq will come from the U.S.
-- money that is swiftly disappearing into the pockets of U.S.
corporations, like Halliburton, which was recently excoriated for an
overpriced contract to ship gasoline into a country that holds the
world's second largest oil reserves.

The rest of the funds will come from the World Bank and the IMF in the
form of loans. But, before those funds can be released, the U.S. has to
negotiate with Iraq's pre-war debtors to forgive massive loans left over
from the Saddam era. In typically brilliant fashion, the Pentagon issued
a directive last week that bars French, German, and Russian corporations
from bidding on contracts for reconstruction in Iraq. Well, guess who
owns most of Iraq's pre-war debt? European nations and Russia, that's
who. Vladimir Putin, offended by the Pentagon's action, last week
adamantly refused to forgive some $8 billion of Iraq's Saddam-era debt.

Failed military tactics, failed financial policies -- it's all in a
day's work for the Bush administration. Finding Saddam Hussein certainly
won't make up for incompetence at the top.

Maria Tomchick's writings have appeared on Alternet, Znet, the
CounterPunch website, Common Dreams newswire, and I am a co-editor and contributing writer for Eat The
State!, a biweekly anti-authoritarian newspaper of political opinion,
research and humor, based in Seattle, Washington. Eat the State! can be
found online at

Sources for this article include:

"Iraqi resistance deeply divided over Saddam Hussein's role," Agence
France Presse, 12/8/03

"Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns," Dexter Filkins,
The New York Times, 12/6/03

"U.S. Adopts New Tactics in Iraq Guerrilla War," Charles Aldinger,
Reuters, 12/8/03

"Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq," Julian Borger, The
Guardian, 12/9/03,,3858,4815008-103681,00.html

"US Eyeing Israeli Tactics for Iraq Insurgents," Dan Williams, Reuters,

"High Payments to Halliburton for Fuel in Iraq," Don Van Natta Jr., NYT,

"Fueling Anger in Iraq: Sabotage Exacerbates Petroleum Shortages," Rajiv
Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, 12/9/03,

"After Attack, S. Korean Engineers Quit Iraq," Ariana Eunjung Cha,
Washington Post, 12/7/03

"Iraq delays hand Cheney firm $1bn," Oliver Morgan, The Observer,

"Funds for Iraq Are Far Short of Pledges, Figures Show," Steven R.
Weisman, NYT, 12/7/03.