News out of Iraq and Iraq War related news out of the United States is coming so thick and fast these days, it's almost impossible to keep up with it all. So excuse the lack of coherency attached to the choices of stories I've linked to, and extracted from, in this post.
These are the stories I've been reading, and the ones I've had on file for a week or two now that seem to be the most important today.
Just a note of explanation : I spent almost two years working as a full-time volunteer for the Australians At War Film Archive, transcribing hundreds of interviews from veterans of World War 2, Korea, Malaysia, the Indonesian insurgency, Vietnam, Somalia, East Timor, Afghanistan and the Iraq Wars.
I really thought that listening to and watching, literally, thousands of hours of veterans talking about war, violence, death and loss would harden me somehow to soaking up dozens of stories a day about the 'War On Terror'. But it hasn't.
If anything, there is a nightmare-like deja-vu quality to what is now happening. The stories of all those Australian veterans of past wars are being repeated over and over again, with events on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That's my excuse, anyway, for the patchy quality of this blog, and the long stretches of no updates. I hope the thousands of regular readers of this blog will understand why the updates have become infrequent. I hope to correct that in the coming weeks.
The 'War On Terror' has proved to be a disaster of almost incomprehensible proportions for the militaries of the United States, Australia and the UK. Let alone the armies and civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a dozen other countries.
You can pray it will end tomorrow, but it won't. We will have this war before us for years to come, as US Vice-President Cheney and former Defence Secretary Rumsfeld promised, and we will leave the worst of it to the next generation.
If the updates here are not regular enough, you can't go past the Information Clearing House for a daily sweep of the true scope and horror of the 'War On Terror.'
Claim : 25% Of Veterans Of The Global 'War On Terror' Have Filed For Disability
The figures are heart-breaking, particularly when you consider that the vast majority of the Global 'War On Terror' veterans from the United States are under the age of 26 :
* Wounded veteran totals range from 25,000 to beyond 100,000.
* More than 1500 American veterans are 100% permanently disabled.
* More than 70,000 have approached Veterans Affairs to access mental health care, which means that possibly hundreds of thousands of young American veterans are now suffering post-traumatic stress disorder but have not seeked out help, due to lack of access, personal ego and peer pressure.
* More than 1000 Global 'War On Terror' veterans are known to be homeless.
You can imagine what the stats are for those now consumed by alcohol and drug problems.
If such information doesn't break your heart, then you're as demented as the terrorists our soldiers were supposedly sent to fight.
From Electronic Iraq :
...the number of injured has far outstripped the dead, with the Veterans Administration reporting that more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq war are receiving disability benefits.They didn't even do this in World War 1, when the condition was known as 'shell-shock'.
New guidelines released by the Pentagon released last month allow commanders to redeploy soldiers suffering from traumatic stress disorders.
This is no longer a 'War On Terror'.
This is a physical, mental, spiritual massacre of America's youth. And the destruction of an entire generation of Iraqis.
Why Not To Increase The Size Of The US Army
From the Washington Post :
Iraq represents the latest sobering reminder of a lesson for Democrats and Republicans alike in the post-Cold War world: Even the world's only remaining superpower, with forces unmatched by any other military on the planet, is limited in what it can do with its troops.
Donald Rumsfeld used to say that only four of Iraq's 18 provinces were troubled, but he neglected to consider the implications of his own statement: That even 140,000 U.S. soldiers -- just about the largest force that the United States could sustain in Iraq over several years -- could not pacify part of one country. The world's lone superpower, spending more on defense than the next dozen nations combined, has all that it can handle -- indeed, more than it can handle -- trying to deal with unrest in part of a single country the size of California. At nearly half a trillion dollars and counting, our power, skill and money buy us a losing outcome in one small corner of the world.
The point is not to belittle the extreme difficulty of the mission facing our troops but to highlight it and come to grips with the limits even of formidable military power set amid hostile populations. Our enemies, well aware of the dominance of conventional American forces, cordially decline our invitation to fight on our terms, under the traditional rules of military force-on-force, with defined battlefields largely separated from populations.
Robert Fisk Claims That Many Washington Secrets Died With Saddam Hussein
From the UK Independent :
The moment Saddam's hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington's secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.
Saddam Is Dead, So Where's Osama Bin Laden?
You'd think that five years on from September 11, 2001, that the failure to capture Osama Bin Laden should be viewed as something of a...well, a failure. You'd be wrong.
Here's how the White House views the current 'Where's Osama?' situation :
Q: "....the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure."In the Bush White House, you get promoted for coming up with newspeak brilliance of such high quality.
White House Spokesperson : "Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure."
Bad Guy Of The Year : Bin Laden? Al-Sadr? Saddam? No, It's Bush
25% Of Americans Named President Bush As Bad Guy Of The Year.
How badly do you have to fuck up to have tens of millions of Americans, let alone most of the rest of the world, think you are worse than Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?
Even American Soldiers Don't Believe The United States Can Win The War On Iraq
Think Progress has chewed the stats on a poll covering the opinions of 6000 members of the US military, and the numbers are shocking :
– Only 35 percent said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved.
– 50 percent believe success in Iraq is likely, down from 83 percent in 2004.
– 38 percent believe the United States should send more troops to Iraq. 39 percent believe we should maintain current levels or reduce the number of troops, including 13 percent who support complete withdrawal.
– 72 percent believe the military is “stretched too thin to be effective.”
– 47 percent disagree with President Bush’s mantra that the war in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism, while the same percentage agree.
– Only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects the beliefs of the general population today — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.
– 52 percent approve of the overall job President Bush is doing, down from 71 percent in 2004.
– 63 percent say the senior military leadership has the best interests of the troops at heart. That number is lower from President Bush (48 percent) and lower still for civilian military leadership (32 percent) and Congress (23 percent).
American Citizens, Democrats, Republicans, And Now American Soldiers Reject Bush Plans To Escalate The War On Iraq By Sending In More Troops
Americans troops don't think they're winning the War On Iraq, and they don't think they can win it in any way that represents a military victory.
But President Bush is supposedly planning to "surge" in tens of thousands more American troops, in what has been called His Last Chance At A Win In Iraq.
Most of the Democrats controlling the 110th US Congress think pouring more troops into Iraq is a shockingly bad idea. So do some key Republicans. So do most Americans.
Even Fox News war hawk Oliver North thinks the possible plan to "surge" tens of thousands more American troops into Iraq is terrible idea, as do the American soldiers in Iraq that he has been talking to :
"Not one of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen or Marines I interviewed told me that they wanted more U.S. boots on the ground. In fact, nearly all expressed just the opposite: 'We don't need more American troops, we need more Iraqi troops,' was a common refrain. They are right.
"Adding 10,000 or 20,000 more U.S. combat troops...isn't going to improve Iraqi willingness to fight their own fight...an imperative if we are to claim victory in this war..."
How long before President Bush faces a military-wide mutiny, an at-home insurgency, in response to his plans to escalate the 'War On Iraq'?
You would not be far wrong in your thinking if you believe that it has already begun.
And it is likely to the be the biggest story of 2007.
The Plan To Win The War In Iraq, By The Iraqis
Bush Removes His Iraq War Dissenters - Top US Military Commander For The Middle East Is Replaced, Iraq War Team "Overhauled"
150,000 American Iraq Veterans On Disability Pensions - Veterans Dumped And Forgotten When They Can't Fight This War Any More
Top Democrats Tell Bush No More Troops For Iraq War, Begin Pullout Now
Across The Arab World, New Pride Comes In Recognition Of Saddam Hussein As The Brave Martyr Who Faced Down 'The Enemy' - Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, India, Jordan, Pakistan Sees Marches And Praise For Dead Dictator
"It Takes A Real Genius To Create A Martyr Out Of Saddam Hussein"
US Ambassador To Iraq Seen As Favouring Sunnis Over Shiites - Removed From Office
Shocking, Sickening Details Emerge On The 'Haditha Massacre' As Murder Trials Begin - American Troops "Went Crazy" And Killed 24 Women, Teenagers, Children
"Chaos" Overran Iraq War Plans In 2006, Says Bush Team - This Is Only True If 'Chaos In The Middle East' Is Not The Real War Plan