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"Most (journalists) are embedded with U.S. forces or operate from the Green Zone, a walled fortress in central Baghdad. As a result, few people in the West, or in Japan, have seen the true extent of the damage and suffering in Fallujah, while the U.S. government continues to deny responsibility for the cancer and leukemia outbreaks."
"The world has seen little of the devastation wrought by U.S. troops on the city of Fallujah," Rasheed said. "Entire neighborhoods were destroyed and the number of innocent civilians killed and maimed the bombing was quite high."
"My preference," Garner told me in his understated manner, "was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can and do it in some form of elections."
But elections were not in The Plan.
The Plan was a 101-page document to guide the long-term future of the land we'd just conquered. There was nothing in it about democracy or elections or safety. There was, rather, a detailed schedule for selling off "all [Iraq's] state assets" -- and Iraq, that's just about everything -- "especially," said The Plan, "the oil and supporting industries." Especially the oil.
There was more than oil to sell off. The Plan included the sale of Iraq's banks, and weirdly, changing it's copyright laws and other odd items that made the plan look less like a program for Iraq to get on its feet than a program for corporate looting of the nation's assets. (And indeed, we discovered at BBC, behind many of the odder elements -- copyright and tax code changes -- was the hand of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's associate Grover Norquist.)
But Garner didn't think much of The Plan, he told me when we met a year later in Washington. He had other things on his mind. "You prevent epidemics, you start the food distribution program to prevent famine."
Seizing title and ownership of Iraq's oil fields was not on Garner's must-do list. He let that be known to Washington. "I don't think [Iraqis] need to go by the U.S. plan, I think that what we need to do is set an Iraqi government that represents the freely elected will of the people." He added, "It's their country … their oil."
Apparently, the Secretary of Defense disagreed. So did lobbyist Norquist. And Garner incurred their fury by getting carried away with the "democracy" idea: he called for quick elections -- within 90 days of the taking of Baghdad.
But Garner's 90-days-to-elections commitment ran straight into the oil sell-off program. Annex D of the plan indicated that would take at least 270 days -- at least 9 months.
Worse, Garner was brokering a truce between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. They were about to begin what Garner called a "Big Tent" meeting to hammer out the details and set the election date. He figured he had 90 days to get it done before the factions started slitting each other's throats.
The women of Basra have disappeared. Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, women's secular freedoms - once the envy of women across the Middle East - have been snatched away because militant Islam is rising across the country.
Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as "inappropriate behaviour". The insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom does not extend to women.
Originally posted by WheelsRCool
Thousands of Iraqis dying each month and U.S. death squads? The media would have a field day with that...
On May 27, American troops arrested seven journalists of international, Arab and local press agencies. The next day, the US carried out air raids on the city, resulting in eight deaths (three of whom were children and a woman) and fifteen wounded. The western press apparently did not see anything. On May 30, Free Arab Voice reported five civilians killed, among them a woman and a child. Al Sharqiya TV also mentioned the incident, but once again, it was not announced in the western press. On June 5, five people were killed in an air raid: two children, an elder, and two women. Among the fifteen injured were nine students who were taking their final exams for school at the time of the bombing. The same day, hundreds of fresh troops arrived at Anbar, most of them were stationed in Ramadi. When the army began to seal off the city on June 6, the situation became deadly serious. Water and electricity were cut off and fuel stations were closed down. Medical stores were bombed, all the hospitals were closed and first aid supplies were confiscated. In an attempt to avert the looming major offensive, resistance fighters decided to withdraw from the city. Apparently, this move did not effect the occupation’s plans. On June 9, the first attacks began. The western media resembles the sleeping beauty. Except for an article in the LA Times, at the time of writing this article, no report on the operation can be found in the western press on the internet. All have their eyes still on Zarqawi in a media-induced trance Meanwhile, on Monday, 12 June, Al-Quds reported that the US Army had issued an ultimatum to Ramadi residents. By June 15, they should turn in all the resistance fighters – what an irrational demand! – or face a massive attack. Again, as in Fallujah, those civilians who have no financial means to leave or no place to go, will be portrayed as ‘terrorists’ or ‘foreign fighters’ after they are killed, in order to clean up the face of this dirty war.
6. (SBU) One colleague beseeched us to weigh in to help a neighbor who was uprooted in May from her home of 30 years, on the pretense of application of some long-disused law that allows owners to evict tenants after 14 years. The woman, a Fayli Kurd, says she has nowhere to go. no other home, but the courts give them no recourse to this new assertion of power. Such uprootings may be a response by new Shiite government authorities to similar actions against Arabs by Kurds in other parts of Iraq. ( MOTE: An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province , as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq. One editor told us that the KDP is now planning to set up tent cities in Irbil, to house Kurds being evicted from Baghdad.)
7. Temperatures in Baghdad have already reached 115 degrees. employees all confirm that by the last week of May, they were getting one hour of power for every six hours without. That was only about four hours of power a day for the city. By early June, the situation had improved slightly, In Hai Si Shaab. power has recently improved from one in six to one in three hours. Other staff report similar variances. Central Baghdad neighborhood Bab al Muathama has had no city power for over a month. Areas near hospitals, political party headquarters, and the green zone have the best supply, in some eases reaching 24 hours. One staff member reported that a friend lives in a building that houses a new minister; within 2l hours of his appointment, her building had City power 24 hours a day....
9. (SEW Fuel lines have also taxed out- staff, One employee told us May 29 that he had spent 12 hours on his day off (Saturday) waiting to get gas. Another staff member confirmed that shortages were so dire, prices on the black market in much of Baghdad were now above 1,000 Iraqi dinars per liter (the official, subsidized price is 250 ID).
11. (SBU) In April, employees began reporting a change in demeanor of guards at the green zone checkpoints. They seemed to be more militia-like, in some cases seemingly taunting. One employee asked us to explore getting her press credentials because guards had held her embassy badge up and proclaimed loudly to nearby passers-by ‘Embassy’ as she entered Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people.
June 30 (UPI) -- Baghdad's morgue has run out room to store bodies as more victims of smoldering violence in the Iraqi capital are delivered.
More than 100 bodies are being held at room temperature because morgue refrigerators are full, inspector-general of Iraq's health ministry Adil Abdul Muhsin told Al-Mada news.
Originally posted by Liberal1984
The News is far more centrally owned that it was during Vietnam. Furthermore in some Iraq is more dangerous (I think I heard that more journalists had been killed there than in Vietnam).
My skin color and language skills allowed me to relate to the American occupier in a different way, for he looked at me as if I were just another haji, the “gook” of the war in Iraq. I first realized my advantage in April 2003, when I was sitting with a group of American soldiers and another soldier walked up and wondered what this haji (me) had done to get arrested by them. Later that summer I walked in the direction of an American tank and heard one soldier say about me, “That’s the biggest #in’ Iraqi (pronounced eye-raki) I ever saw.” A soldier by the gun said, “I don’t care how big he is, if he doesn’t stop movin’ I’m gonna shoot him.”
I was lucky enough to have an American passport in my pocket, which I promptly took out and waved, shouting: “Don’t shoot! I’m an American!” It was my first encounter with hostile American checkpoints but hardly my last, and I grew to fear the unpredictable American military, which could kill me for looking like an Iraqi male of fighting age. Countless Iraqis were not lucky enough to speak American English or carry a U.S. passport, and often entire families were killed in their cars when they approached American checkpoints.