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Iraq

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CounterPunch Diary
The last American combat brigade in Iraq has left the country, so the Pentagon announced this week. The 40,000 personnel from 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division began crossing into Kuwait August 19. The US combat mission in Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom - is scheduled to end on August 31. The least credible human... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
A friend of mine who’s a librarian was recently reviewing job applicants. Asked his qualifications in library skills, one man put “machine-gunner.” He was a vet who’d served in Falluja. The library is in a state school here in the US that, last fall, had 650 such vets enrolled. The young man got the job... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
As he heads for the office these days Nouri al-Maliki should bid his family especially tender farewells. If the patterns of US foreign policy are any guide, the Iraqi prime minister is a very poor insurance risk. On Monday August 20 a leading Democratic senator, Carl Levin of Michigan and chairman of the Armed Services... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
There’s been no stage in the grim progress of the US onslaught on Iraq at which the New York Times hasn’t been shoving the whole ghastly enterprise along. First there were Judy Miller and Michael Gordon promoting the WMD rationale for attack. More recently there was Michael Gordon selling the surge. Now it’s John Burns,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Lawrence McGuire, a North Carolinian now teaching in Montpellier, France, organized a meeting of antiwar Americans and various interested French parties there at which I spoke last fall. Since then, we've been discussing off and on the strange fact that while two-thirds of all Americans oppose the war in Iraq and want the troops to... Read More
Only Mike Gravel and Ron Paul Get It
Both Democratic and Republican politicians are becoming uncomfortably aware that they may have seriously miscalculated just how unpopular the war in Iraq is with a very large number of American voters. And the implosion of the Republican Party--battered by one tempest after another--is getting to be bad as it was in 1932 or 1964. Of... Read More
The Fake Fight Over the Iraq War
Has the end of America's war on Iraq been brought closer by the recent vote in the House of Representatives? On March 23, the full House voted 218 to 212 to set a timeline on the withdrawal of US troops, with September 1, 2008, as the putative date after which war funding might be restricted... Read More
Four Years Later in Iraq
Pick almost any date on the calendar and it'll turn out that the US either started a war, ended a war, perpetrated a massacre or sent its UN Ambassador into the Security Council to declare to issue an ultimatum. It's like driving across the American West. "Historic marker, 1 mile", the sign says. A minute... Read More
Congress Has the Power, Do They Have the Will?
Aside from winning, there aren't that many ways of ending wars. Governments pay attention when the troops mutiny, when there are riots outside recruiting offices, when there's revolution on the home front, when the money runs out. In Vietnam the troops mutinied. Units shot their officers in the back or threw grenades into their tents.... Read More
Nomads Beware!
A make-or-break speech by a beleagured American president is usually preceded by a demonstration of American might somewhere on the planet and the run-up to Bush’s address Wednesday night was no exception. The AC-130 U.S. gunship that massacred a convoy of fleeing Islamists on Somalia’s southwestern border, apparently along with dozens of nomads, their families... Read More
The Surge Pushers
The war in Iraq, one of the most disastrous military enterprises in the history of the Republic, has the New York Times' fingerprints all over it. The role the newspaper played in fomenting the 2003 attack is now one of the best known sagas in journalistic history, as embodied in the reports of Judy Miller,... Read More
Harry Reid: More Troops to Iraq!
This last Sunday Harry Reid, the incoming Democratic majority leader in the US Senate, went on ABC's Sunday morning show and declared that a hike in U.S. troops in Iraq is okay with him. Here's the evolution of the Democrats' war platform since November 7, 2006, the day the voters presented a clear mandate: "End... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Here's comes Rep Silvestre Reyes of Texas, handpicked by Nancy Pelosi to head the House Intelligence Committee and he's calling for 20,000 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. Reyes says they're needed to crush the Shi'a and Sunni militias. Didn't I tell to you right here, after the Nov 7 "peace moment" the... Read More
The Democrats and the Slaughterhouse
Imagine a steer in the stockyards hollering to his fellows, "We need a phased withdrawal from the slaughterhouse, starting in four to six months. The timetable should not be overly rigid. But there should be no more equivocation." Back and forth among the steers the debate meanders on. Some say, "To withdraw now" would be... Read More
600,000 Dead in Iraq
Today the public health department at Johns Hopkins has released a new study of deaths in Iraq, based on a new larger sample of the population. Around 600,000 have died in Iraq since the U.S. attacked in the spring of 2003. This terrible number won't come as a surprise to readers of this website. Back... Read More
A Dreadful Mistake
At the heart of what is often touted as the mightiest empire in world history, it's not a pretty sight at the start of July. After a few chipmunk squeaks from the White House a couple of weeks ago about there being somehow a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq... Read More
In a Month al-Zarqawi's Name will be Forgotten and the War will Rage On
In the old days they'd brandish the head of the captured chieftain from the battlements. These days, given the effects on human bone and tissue of artillery and 500 pound bombs, there's a cull from an old Most Wanted list and then, when the morticians have done their work, a photo of the cadaver's visage,... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
My local town of Eureka in northwest California had a pretty good peace rally on March 18, to mark the third anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq. They've put them on every year, including a big one just before the war started. It was a total local affair. An ad hoc group called Communities... Read More
Three Years On
Three years into the war in Iraq and now about two out of three Americans are against it, as against about one out of fifty elected politicians. In Iraq 2,315 Americans have died, and 17,100 wounded, many of them with limbs lost, some facing a lifetime in a wheel chair. Of the tens of thousands... Read More
"Old Half-Witted Sheep"
Two voices are there: one is of the deep; As regards the half-witted sheep, J.K. Stephen could just as well have parodying newspaper editorials as about Wordsworth. These days editorials barely matter. Few people outside the professional political classes bother to read them. It's a form of writing as dead as the dodo, so we... Read More
How the CIA Paid for Judy Miller's Stories
The Bush era has brought a robust simplicity to the business of news management: where possible, buy journalists to turn out favorable stories and, as far as hostiles are concerned, if you think you can get away with it, shoot them or blow them up. As with much else in the Bush era, the novelty... Read More
Flays Commander-in-Chief's Claims
On the heels of the second in Bush's series of four speeches on the war in Iraq, Rep John Murtha returned to the attack in a press conference, responding to Bush's claims. Armed with graphs, bar charts and intimate knowledge of what is actually happening on the ground in Iraq, the former US Marine shredded... Read More
"Broken, Worn Out" and "Living Hand to Mouth"
The immense significance of Rep John Murtha's November 17 speech calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq is that it signals mutiny in the US senior officer corps, seeing the institution they lead as "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth", to use the biting words of their spokesman, John Murtha, as he reiterated on... Read More
He Pointed the Way Out; They Chopped Off His Hand
Here we have one of the most widely derided presidents in the history of the United States and a war abhorred by a majority of all Americans and the Democrats have near zero traction as a credible party of opposition. The sequence of events after Representative Jack Murtha's speech on Capitol Hill on November 17... Read More
From Lynndie England to Shaq
Away to prison for three years goes Lynndie England, her pleas for mercy ignored by the military judge in Fort Hood, Texas. So who are the penalized thus far to indicate America's revulsion over the systematic use of torture by its own forces? It tots up to a handful of rednecks. Scot-free go those who... Read More
Says Sheehan "Not a LaRouchie"!
Just to remind you, before you read his letter to CounterPunch, here's what I wrote about Christopher Hitchens in my CounterPunch Diary last weekend. You can tell in five-minutes channel surfing how Cindy Sheehan frightens the pro-war crowd. One bereaved mom from Vacaville, camped outside Bush's home in Crawford, reproaching the vacationing President for sending... Read More
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CounterPunch Diary
You can tell in five-minutes channel surfing how Cindy Sheehan frightens the pro-war crowd. One bereaved mom from Vacaville, camped outside Bush's home in Crawford, reproaching the vacationing President for sending her son to a pointless death in Iraq has got the hellhounds of the right barking in venomous unison. Christopher Hitchens attacked Cindy Sheehan,... Read More
We Aren't Dealing With Rationality
"Any appearance of a permanent occupation of Iraq by the US] will both undermine domestic support here in the United States and play directly into the hands of those in the Middle East who -- however wrongly -- suspect us of imperial design." So spoke former secretary of State James Baker last week in a... Read More
"Let Them Drink Sand!"
The United States is bringing "democracy" to Iraq on the same terms that the Russians imposed its federal mandate on Chechnya, a region which has Iraq's future written in its rubble. The advocates of intervention in Iraq, the epigones of Wolfowitz , should take a walk through Grozny, and measure against its ruins the fate... Read More
The Great Delusion
I asked one usually radical friend of mine, now a Kerrycrat, how she could support a fellow who pledges a “better”, wider war in Iraq and then a march on Teheran. “Oh” she said airily, “you can’t believe anything a candidate will say.” From where we sit, here at mission control, CounterPunch hq, (currently a... Read More
Torture as Normalcy As American as Apple Pie
Torture's back in the news, courtesy of those lurid pictures of exultant Americans laughing as they torture their Iraqi captives in Abu Ghraib prison run by the US military outside Baghdad. Apparently it takes electrodes and naked bodies piled in a simulated orgy to tickle America's moral nerve ends. Kids maimed by cluster bombs just... Read More
The O'Neill / Suskind Bombshells
Here we have former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill disclosing that George Bush came into office planning to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and MSNBC polls its audience with the question, Did O'Neill Betray Bush? Is that really the big question? The White House had a sharper nose for the real meat of Leslie Stahl's 60 Minutes... Read More
CounterPunch Diary How to Kill Saddam
The last time I saw pictures of a man in need of a haircut being displayed as a trophy of the American Empire it was Che Guevara, stretched out dead on a table in a morgue in Valle Grande in the eastern Bolivian mountains. In those edgier days, in late 1967, the Bolivian army high... Read More
CounterPunch Diary Handmaid in Babylon: Annan, Vieira de Mello and the UN's Decline and Fall
"One has to be careful," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in late August, "not to confuse the UN with the US." If the Secretary General had taken his own advice, then maybe his Brazilian subordinate, Sergio Vieira de Mello, might not have been so summarily blown to pieces in Baghdad two days earlier. As... Read More
CounterPunch Diary Judy Miller's War
Lay all Judith Miller's New York Times stories end to end, from late 2001 to June 2003 and you get a desolate picture of a reporter with an agenda, both manipulating and being manipulated by US government officials, Iraqi exiles and defectors, an entire Noah's Ark of scam-artists. And while Miller, either under her own... Read More
Meet the Real WMD Fabricator A Swede Called Rolf Ekeus
Week after week Bush and his people have been getting pounded by newly emboldened Democrats and liberal pundits for having exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his still-elusive weapons of mass destruction. One day CIA director George Tenet, is hung out to dry; the next it's the turn of Paul Wolfowitz's platoon of... Read More
CounterPunch Diary Contract with Iraq
They put US troops round the Oil Ministry and the headquarters of the Secret Police, but stood aside as the mobs looted Baghdad's Archaeological Museum and torched the National Library. It sounds like something right out of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, only here the troops protecting the American Petroleum Institute are lobbyists and politicians,... Read More
CounterPunch War Diary
Through the murk of battle, the fog of US/UK military communiques and the more deftly presented Iraqi bulletins, we can begin to descry the shape of things to come, and the basic question posed by war: the powers of endurance and capacity for sacrifice of the two sides. If it comes to a medieval siege... Read More
CounterPunch War Diary
The situation of the US/UK invading force can be assessed as difficult. The US 3rd Infantry Division, the Marines, Division, the 101st Airborne continue to be plagued by stretched supply lines which yesterday saw one Marine unit entirely immobilized by lack of diesel fuel and the food down to one “meal” a day, with the... Read More
From "Plain Sailing" to "Where the Hell Are We?" to "Up the Creek"
Barely into its second week Operation Easy Sailing is in big trouble. One simple way of measuring just how big is by adding up all the time you hear the phrases “all according to Plan”, and the “Our strategy is sound”. That’s the captain of the Titanic speaking. At the military level the US/UK force... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
The timbre of war reporting changed on Sunday, from brazen hubris to a more nervous posture. Typical was a report in the London Financial Times by Victor Mallet, datelined the Iraq/Kuwait border, and titled, “Ominous Signs for Coalition in Battle for Umm Qasr. “The sound of machine gun exchanges and bombing raids by Royal Air... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Monday night, denouncing the UN Security Council for inaction, Bush gave 48 hours for Saddam Hussein to get out of Iraq. If he doesn't, the bombs will drop, the missiles will fly, the tanks will roll. Most certainly people will die. Bush's ultimatum concludes one of the most disastrous attempts to sell a war in... Read More
What Will the US Find If It Invades Iraq? It'll Find What It Wants To, Silly; Booze and Cigarettes in the White House?; A Kirkpatrick Haunting
Does anyone seriously believe that in the event of US invasion, "discovery" of Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction won't be long delayed? The stakes are simply too high. It won't take much: a blueprint or two, a few canisters noisily identified as chemical or biological agents, a "facility" for production of nuclear munitions. CounterPunch has... Read More
Invasion by Cellphone; Why Let Facts Stop a Good War?; John Barry's Unfeted Scoop; More on Goldberg's "Journalism"; Hitchens: the Jampot File
CounterPunch hears that the top 2,500 Iraqis have been getting calls on their cellphones from US intelligence officers telling them that if they lay down their arms when D-day comes they may escape trial for war crimes. One seasoned Iraqi hand tells us the US did the same thing in 1991, but that often the... Read More
Hacks and Heroes: Meet the New Yorker's Goldberg; Israeli Draft Resisters; Bulworth Screenwriter Lashes New York Times; Are Drunks' Dreams Corrupt?
Who's the hack? I nominate The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg. He's the new Remington, though without the artistic talent. Back in 1898, William Randolph Hearst was trying to fan war fever between the United States and Spain. He dispatched a reporter and the artist Frederic Remington to Cuba to send back blood-roiling depictions of Spanish... Read More
"The Largest Outcry in History"; Should Michael Lerner Speak? Kucinich: It's A Go; Who's Howard Dean? Kansas Speaks: "Jah is God!"
We're witnessing the largest outcry in history against an imminent war with the imminent aggressors-- the US and UK--so frightened of the outcry that they have been trying to curb the demonstrations in New York and London. The one in New York is scheduled for February 15, with the gathering point as of this writing... Read More
American Journal Iraq After D-Day: The Cordesman Memo
Napoleon would sketch out in an afternoon the new constitution and legal arrangements for one of France's imperial conquests. In Washington today, there's no such panache, no Jacques-Louis David limning Bush in imperial drapery and resplendent crown (though surely Josephine's heart beats beneath Laura's delicious bosom). All over town, lights blaze far into the night... Read More
American Journal The Anti-War Movement and Its Critics: Merle Haggard Locates Osama; General Hitchens, Hie Thee to Fort Bragg; Whose Left Is It Anyway?
Do we have an antiwar movement? We're getting there. We must be, because we're catching flak from the anti-anti war movement, Light Infantry division, staffed by Marc Cooper, Todd Gitlin, David Corn, and Christopher Hitchens. Marc Cooper, like Gitlin, has carved out a pleasant niche for himself, belaboring various left causes from a position purporting... Read More
American Journal Kissinger, Hitchens, Springsteen, Haggard and Presley
Clearly irked by the thought that he and Henry Kissinger may be on the same wave length when it comes to attacking Saddam Hussein, Christopher Hitchens is now declaring in the London Observer that H.K. is against any such war: "A week or so ago I wondered when he was going to pronounce on the... Read More
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