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Leading Iraqis Get Practical

If one were to ask President Bush to make sense of his strategy in Iraq, he would likely suggest that by providing stability, the Iraqi government could work toward reconciliation and an end to sectarian bloodletting, but according to several key Iraqi leaders, that just isn’t going to happen. Better, they argue, to focus on the basics of governing and providing services that Iraqis continue to suffer without.

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 READ MORE


Musharraf
AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev

Musharraf Wheels and Deals as Election Looms in Pakistan

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is busily offering olive branches, and even pledging to resign his military post in the near future, during the final hours before Saturday’s presidential election.  It looks like his strategy may work, as the election is expected to result in victory for Musharraf, even as his legitimacy as a candidate is being contested and reviewed by the nation’s top court. 

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 READ MORE


The Quickest Way to End the War

Would conservatives and Republicans support the war in Iraq if they had to pay for it? This is the immensely useful question that Rep. David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, put on the table this week by calling for a temporary war tax to cover President Bush’s request for $145 billion in supplemental spending for Iraq.

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 READ MORE


Congress Tries to Close Blackwater Loophole

The House voted 389 to 30 to pass a bill that would make private contractors working for the U.S. government in Iraq subject to United States law. It’s the second time Congress has attempted to apply some sense to the legal vacuum created by the Bush administration and its Coalition Provisional Authority, which pushed through what amounts to blanket immunity for mercenaries.

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 READ MORE


John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt
israellobbybook.com

Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby

The editor of the provocative new bestseller by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt asks the authors (pictured above) whether their book is good for the Jews and good for America. 

Posted on Oct 4, 2007 READ MORE


Burmese protesters
bernama.com

Burma General to Meet Opposition Leader

Burma’s top military general has agreed to meet with imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, provided she drops her “attitude” and meets other conditions. Meanwhile, the government says it has arrested 2,093 protesters and bystanders (Burmese law prohibits gatherings of five or more), while the BBC puts the figure closer to 10,000.

Posted on Oct 4, 2007 READ MORE


Ciara Durkin
rawstory.com

Slain Soldier’s Family Wants Answers From Pentagon

Last Friday, National Guard Spc. Ciara Durkin was found dead on her U.S. base in Afghanistan with a single gunshot wound in her head.  Now, her family is looking for answers and wondering why the U.S. military isn’t offering details about the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death.

Posted on Oct 4, 2007 READ MORE


Limbaugh’s ‘Phony Soldiers’ Slur

The controversy over what Rush Limbaugh meant when he uttered the phrase “phony soldiers” last week isn’t just another broadcast sideshow. As the political power of conservatism declines, the symbolic authority of figures such as Limbaugh is likewise shrinking.

Posted on Oct 3, 2007 READ MORE


Burmese soldiers
news.yahoo.com

U.S. Envoy in Burma: ‘Where Are the Monks?’

Burma’s military government has intensified its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, abducting people from their homes in the middle of the night. U.S. Embassy personnel have found some Buddhist monasteries completely deserted while others have been closed off by soldiers.

Posted on Oct 3, 2007 READ MORE


man holding bullhorn in front of fire
foreignpolicy.com

Pakistan ‘Losing War’  With Insurgents

The Washington Post has it on good authority that Pakistan is losing its war against Taliban and al-Qaida forces operating within its borders, due in no small part to Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s tenuous hold on power.

Posted on Oct 3, 2007 READ MORE


Blackwater Founder Takes a Beating in Congress

Blackwater USA founder and chairman Erik Prince stubbornly defended his company Tuesday while members of the House Oversight Committee grilled him with questions such as “Why are we privatizing our military to an organization that has been aggressive and in some cases reckless in the handling of their duties?”

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE


Chevron’s Pipeline Is the Burmese Regime’s Lifeline

The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation’s gas reserves and partners such as Chevron to buy bullets for the guns it points at monks, a detail conveniently ignored by the Bush administration.

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE


Good News and Bad News from Adm. Mullen

The freshly sworn-in chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, started his first day on the job with this revelation: “The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan will one day end.” That’s a relief, coming from the newest member of Team Bush, but don’t get too excited, there’s more: “We must be ready for who and what comes after.” Oh dear.

Posted on Oct 1, 2007 READ MORE


Report Points to Blackwater’s Excessive Violence

According to a devastating new report from the House Oversight Committee, Blackwater USA employees engaged in at least 195 “escalation of force” incidents since 2005, with the private security firm firing 80 percent of the first shots (despite its purely defensive mandate). What’s worse, the State Department has provided little if any oversight, instead assisting the company as it carried out damage control.

Posted on Oct 1, 2007 READ MORE


Burma Crackdown

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Posted on Oct 1, 2007 READ MORE


Marva participants
facebook.com

Israel’s Toy Soldiers

If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist “madrassa,” or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return.  But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace.

Posted on Oct 1, 2007 READ MORE


George

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Posted on Sep 29, 2007 READ MORE    


monks marching in Burma
AP photo

Truthdiggers of the Week: The Monks of Burma

For decades Burma’s ruling military junta has governed through terror, determined to meet dissent with intimidation, detention and murder. It is because of the military’s particular cruelty that the story of the Buddhist monks of Burma is so compelling.

Posted on Sep 28, 2007 READ MORE


Burma Protest

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Posted on Sep 27, 2007 READ MORE


Cheney and fighter jet
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Iraq Will Have to Wait

If you think the Iraq war is a disaster, just wait until we start bombing Iran. The countdown to another war is both real and terrifying, Ritter argues, and, distasteful though it may seem, it won’t be stopped so long as Iraq holds on to the spotlight.

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 READ MORE


Gen. Pace on Gays and ‘God’s Law’

While attempting to clarify his previous remarks on the immorality of homosexuality, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace on Wednesday managed to put his foot even deeper into his mouth, saying that, while he’s willing to keep an open mind, our nation should not “condone activity [read: gay sex] that, in my upbringing, is counter to God’s law.”

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 READ MORE


Bush the Saboteur

The president’s strategy is to fake out the public so that it believes Democrats in Congress can’t perform basic governmental tasks. Is this any way to run a country?

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 READ MORE


Navy base aerial view
latimes.com / Google Earth

Navy to Obscure Giant Swastika

The Navy plans to spend $600,000 to obscure a San Diego-area building complex that happens to be shaped like a swastika. The buildings have been around since the 1960s and for years no one seemed to mind, but that was before the advent of Google Earth.

Posted on Sep 26, 2007 READ MORE


marching monks
news.bbc.co.uk

Bush to Tighten Sanctions on Burma

President Bush has weighed in on the massive protests in Burma (Myanmar), saying he will boost sanctions against the country’s abusive military government. Meanwhile, thousands of Buddhist monks have defied government warnings and continue to demonstrate.

Posted on Sep 25, 2007 READ MORE


Jet fighter
AP photo / LM Otero

Inside the Military-Industrial Complex

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle knows a thing or two about the “staggering” amounts of money the U.S. funnels into the military-industrial complex, and why it is so difficult to stanch the profiteering.

Posted on Sep 25, 2007 READ MORE


marching monks
AP Photo

Burma Protest Goes Massive

An estimated 100,000 people marched through the streets of Yangon on Monday in an ongoing protest that has rapidly swelled from just dozens of people. Burma’s notoriously inhumane military government has traditionally been quick to stanch dissent but has yet to seriously confront the demonstrators, who were led by roughly 20,000 Buddhist monks.

Posted on Sep 24, 2007 READ MORE


Team Bush Wants $50 Billion More for ‘08 Military Budget

Add another $50 billion to the tab the Bush administration is looking to run up in military costs for the  ‘08 fiscal year, bringing the potential total to around $200 billion if this latest request goes through. 

Posted on Sep 23, 2007 READ MORE


Silent Guardian
raytheon.com

Raytheon’s New ‘Silent Guardian’ Brings the Pain

Reporting on cutting-edge new military gadgetry gives this UK journalist, the Daily Mail’s Michael Hanlon, an unpleasant dose of the reality of modern warfare—and leads him to wonder about the significance, and possible uses of, Raytheon’s new “Silent Guardian” mega-zapper.

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 READ MORE


Privatizing Murder

There is no set piece more emblematic of the tragic farce that is the American involvement in Iraq than the grotesque episode of Blackwater USA and the killing of civilians in Baghdad—at least nine and as many as 28—on Sunday.

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 READ MORE


The Illusion of Progress in Iraq

Following two days of carefully staged theatrics on Capitol Hill and cable television, the essential facts about Iraq remain unchanged. Despite the big charts and the blustering fanfare highlighted by Fox News, neither Gen. David H. Petraeus nor Ambassador Ryan Crocker could convincingly claim that the American military escalation in Iraq is achieving its original goals.

Posted on Sep 14, 2007 READ MORE


Bush with veteran
AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

Letting Our Veterans Down

The sorry state of care of American veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is not accidental. It’s on purpose. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration has fought every effort to improve care for wounded and disabled veterans.

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 READ MORE


Petraeus and Crocker
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

The General Lies

Of course Gen. David Petraeus predicts success in the Iraq war. What wonders couldn’t generals achieve with more troops and more time? The battle is always going well until it is lost, and then they blame defeat on the politicians and the public.

Posted on Sep 11, 2007 READ MORE


Fixing the Numbers

The Defense Intelligence Agency has prepared a briefing chart using data drawn from Gen. Petraeus’ command that shows that violence in Iraq against security forces, including the U.S. military, has barely diminished. Petraeus, using the same information, is expected to argue that there has been a major drop in attacks.

Posted on Sep 9, 2007 READ MORE


Lost Nukes Headed to Iran?

Remember that B-52 that accidentally took some nukes on a joyride? The whole episode doesn’t make much sense to Larry Johnson, a former employee of the CIA and the State Department’s counterterrorism office, who wonders if it’s more than a coincidence that the plane landed at Barksdale Air Force Base, which a former B-52 pilot friend tells him is “a jumping off point for Middle East operations.”

Posted on Sep 7, 2007 READ MORE


Bush at Ground Zero
news.bbc.co.uk

Faludi on 9/11 and American Mythology

Journalist and author Susan Faludi is back with another book, “The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America,” an ambitious look into the formative mythology, driving forces and fears of the U.S.‘s national psyche. 

Posted on Sep 7, 2007 READ MORE


female soldier
vcorps.army.mil

Female Troops Speak Out About Sexual Assault

In addition to the inherent hardships and risks that come with serving in the military, many female soldiers are dealing with the potential trauma of sexual assault and rape, according to a PBS investigation for its “NOW” TV series.

Posted on Sep 6, 2007 READ MORE


Pentagon
DoD / Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway, USAF

China Denies Hacking Pentagon

China has denied responsibility for a large raid on the Department of Defense’s computer network, attributing the accusation to a “Cold War mentality.” A senior U.S. official was quoted in the Financial Times as implicating the People’s Liberation Army in the attack, which forced the Pentagon to shut down its network for more than a week.

Posted on Sep 4, 2007 READ MORE


Peter Pace
latimes.com

Joint Chiefs Chairman Likely to Back Big Cut in Troops

It looks as though Gen. Peter Pace, whose term as Joint Chiefs chairman and the president’s top military adviser is about to expire, may go out with a bang. While Gen. David Petraeus is expected to back the White House’s push for an extended surge, Gen. Pace is likely to call for a major reduction—by almost half—of U.S. forces in Iraq in order to address the long-term needs of an overextended military.

Posted on Aug 24, 2007 READ MORE


Troops Still Waiting for Armored Vehicles

Throughout the war, getting the troops the equipment they need to stay alive has been more of a goal than a reality. The latest example is the expected delivery shortfall of MRAPs—the specially designed armored vehicles that have proved particularly resistant to roadside bombs. The Pentagon had hoped to deliver 3,500 of the vehicles to Iraq, but it looks as if only 1,500 or so will make it there by year’s end.

Posted on Aug 22, 2007 READ MORE


The War as They Saw It

With the Bush administration set to offer a progress report on Iraq—assuredly an attempt to make the case for a prolonged surge—seven active-duty GIs have offered their own assessment in The New York Times. Their view, though bleak, is not cynical, but instead a practical approach to the many problems they’ve witnessed during their time in the quagmire.

Posted on Aug 20, 2007 READ MORE


Baghdad burning
AP Photo / Dusan Vranic

Bye-Bye Baghdad

A self-confessed “overpaid Department of Defense contractor” writes about his experiences living and working in Baghdad and the suffering of his Iraqi friends, who risk life and limb every day to get by in the “sinking ship” of Iraq.

Posted on Aug 17, 2007 READ MORE


Army Suicide Rate at Quarter-Century High

According to the U.S. military, 99 active-duty soldiers committed suicide in 2006, a number that may rise after ongoing investigations into other cases conclude, making last year’s suicide rate the highest in 26 years. 

Posted on Aug 16, 2007 READ MORE


Gul
news.bbc.co.uk

Political Danger in Turkey

Turkey’s Abdullah Gul says he will once again run for the presidency, which could lead to a crisis in the politically and religiously complex nation. Turkey’s avowedly secular military has already announced its willingness to intervene should Gul win the post, because of his Islamist background.

Posted on Aug 14, 2007 READ MORE


recruiters
msnbc.com

Army Throws Cash at Recruitment Problem

In an effort to combat ever dwindling enthusiasm among America’s youths for a career in the military, the Army is enlarging its recruitment staff, loosening age and criminal record restrictions and offering more cash bonuses, such as $45,000 tax-free to buy a house. Last year the Army spent $1 billion on bonuses and advertisements.

Posted on Aug 9, 2007 READ MORE


Pentagon Sold Banned Jet Equipment

The Government Accountability Office has found that the Defense Department sold roughly 1,400 parts that could be used to repair Iran’s aging air force, despite a crackdown on such sales.

Posted on Aug 2, 2007 READ MORE


Out How:  The Economics of Ending Wars

In this 10-point essay, originally delivered as a speech at the 2007 conference of the Allied Social Science Association, economics expert Dr. Intriligator tallies up the astronomical costs of the Iraq war (one estimation put the price tag for the war at $2.267 trillion) and rips apart the Bush administration’s list of purported “benefits.”

Posted on Jul 27, 2007 READ MORE


Iraq: A War

Posted on Jul 19, 2007 READ MORE


basra girl
AP Photo / Toni Nicoletti

Iraq Vets Break Silence on Devastating Realities of War

Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges teamed up with Laila Al-Arian for The Nation’s shocking report “The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness,” in which American vets describe, in graphic detail that will challenge even the least fainthearted readers, “the disparity between the reality of the war and how it is portrayed by the US government and American media.”

Posted on Jul 12, 2007 READ MORE


Carnage From the Air

Civilian deaths as a result of ground operations (see Haditha) often evoke cries of barbarism from the media, but the killing of innocents in airstrikes is routinely characterized as “collateral damage” and a cold fact of modern warfare. Tom Engelhardt of Tomdispatch proposes that we start to speak honestly about the devastation American military operations have rained down on Afghanistan and Iraq and see “collateral damage” for what it really is: carnage.

Posted on Jul 9, 2007 READ MORE


flag burning
AP Photo/Hatem Moussa

A Declaration of Independence From Israel

The former New York Times Mideast bureau chief warns that America’s foreign policy, particularly under the Bush administration, has been subverted by an aggressive and dangerous Israeli agenda that could launch a nightmarish regional war.

Posted on Jul 2, 2007 READ MORE


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