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New bombs, oil and electricity shut down--Iraqis blame the United States for failing to provide security and for relying too heavily on airstrikes and artillery in urban areas.
LATEST IRAQ ATTACKS KILL 59 PEOPLE
The Los Angeles Times describes the aftermath from the latest car bomb attack in Baghdad(on-line video in right column). Although an estimated 7,000 to 12,000 civilians have died in Iraq, and 1,005 U.S. servicemen have been killed, U.S. forces are still unable to guarantee security. (Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2004)
•Is Iraq becoming unimaginable? (BBC analysis)
WITHOUT SUFFICIENT GROUND TROOPS, U.S. TURNS INCREASINGLY TO AIR STRIKES
AP's military writer, Robert Burns, notes that the airstrikes are effective in areas where U.S. ground forces can no longer operate, such as Fallujah, but the risk is that civilian casualties will radicalize Iraqis even more than they are now. (Robert Burns, AP, September 13, 2004)
•U.S. attacks in Najaf killed more than 1,000 people (Chicago Tribune)
Conway: the consequences needed to be considered beforehand.
LT. GENERAL JAMES CONWAY CRITICIZES WHITE HOUSE INDECISIVENESS ON FALLUJAH
"When you order elements of a marine division to attack a city," Conway, the outgoing commander of the Marines who attacked Fallujah, told news correspondents in Baghdad, "you need to understand what the consequences will be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that. Once you commit you have to stay committed."
Conway said that he had initially favored holding off on attacking Fallujah."We felt that we probably ought to let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," he told reporters. "I think we certainly increased the level of animosity that existed." ( Toby Harnden in Baghdad, The Telegraph, September 14, 2004)
•Conway's remarks in the Washington Post
BUSH'S LOST YEAR
James Fallows, in a sharp analysis in the Atlantic Monthly, argues that the administration's obsession with launching an unnecessary war in Iraq siphoned off resources that were critically needed to go after the terrorists responsible for 9/11. The result is that the United States dangerously overextended, and the demonstration of the limitations of American power are likely to encourage more challenges. (James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly, September 2004--requires subscription for complete article)
BOTH BUSH AND KERRY GOT IT WRONG?
The Washington Post's David Broder notes that while President Bush applies "coat after coat of whitewash to a pattern of misjudgments" that have placed the United States in a dangerous situation, Kerry also failed to spot the gaps in prewar intelligence that led the administration into this mess. As an antidote, Broder recommends a study entitled "Alternative Strategies for Gulf Security," which grew out of a conference attended by 50 Middle East experts earlier this year in Dubai. The conference was co-hosted by the Iowa-based Stanley Foundation, and Dubai's Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analyses. The analysis has just been published in Middle East Policy. (David Broder, Washington Post, September 12, 2004)
•Stanley Foundation presents the report and related essays
•The Middle East Policy Council's website
QUANTIFYING RECONSTRUCTION IN IRAQ
The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Frederic Barton and Bathsheba Crocker led a team which attempted to replace anecdotal assessments with a reliable model for judging reconstruction progress in Iraq. The bottom line so far: all sectors of development in Iraq are still beneath the tipping point needed for a lasting, positive outcome. (CSIS, September 2004)
PETER BERGEN ON THE HUNT FOR OSAMA
Interviewed by the Jamestown Foundation, Peter Bergen analyzes the cost of failing to capture Osama Bin Laden.(Peter Bergen, Jamestown Foundation, September 12, 2004)
•Peter Bergen on the failed hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the Atlantic
THE TALIBAN PAPERS
The National Security Archives project has just released the internal State Department documents detailing the events that led to the U.S. decision to eliminate the Taliban. Fascinating reading. (National Security Archives, September 11, 2004)
A POLITICAL SNAKEPIT
Henry C.K. Liu notes that the current mess in Iraq has roots that extend back to the 1950's when the British, upset at Iran's nationalization of British petroleum interests, convinced the United States to join forces in overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran. The U.S. complied by installing the Shah of Iran as our man in the region. The unexpected side-effect was the emergence of the U.S. as the major neo-colonialist power in the Middle East, effectively replacing the British, who had dominated the region until then. (Liu heads New York-based Liu Investment Corp.)
(Henry C.K. Liu in Asia Times, September 15, 2004)
THE "GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM" MAY LEAVE TERRORISM AS THE ONLY OPTION
Jamil Matar, writing in Lebanon's Dar al-Hayat, notes that anyone who is struggling for independence or trying to oppose neo-colonial oppression these days has been left with limited choices. (Jamil Matar, Dar al-Hayat, September 13, 2004)
RUSSIA: FREEING UP ITS POLICY OPTIONS?
Ivan Safranchuk, writing for the Center for Defense Information, suggests that Putin's recent maneuvers may be intended to free Russia from the foreign policy routines of his predecessors. (Ivan Safranchuk, CDI, September 10, 2004)
IS MOSCOW AN ALLY?
Igor Torbakov notes that in the wake of its troubles with Chechnya, Russia has intensified its nationalism, but is also reaching out to the U.S. as an ally in its own "war against terror." (Igor Torbakov, Eurasianet.org, September 13, 2004)
INDONESIA-SALAFISM AND TERRORISM DO NOT MIX
Salafism--the search for a purer form of Islam--is gaining ground in Indonesia, and bringing in influences from the Middle East, but the movement's intense focus on spiritual experience tends to make it incompatible with terrorist political movements. The International Crisis Group provides a detailed analysis on the movement's growth and impact on Indonesia. (ICG, September 13, 2004)
COMPLEXITY IN PREDICTING CRUDE OIL PRICES
How the speculator sees the market has a major impact on prices. (Paul Stevens, MEES, September 13, 2004)
President Bush campaigns in Colorado. No apologies from a war president.
TIME TO CHALLENGE THE PRESIDENT ON IRAQ?
"On Sunday, " Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, "a celebrating crowd gathered around a burning U.S. armored vehicle. Then a helicopter opened fire; a child and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel were among those killed. Later, the channel repeatedly showed the journalist doubling over and screaming, 'I'm dying; I'm dying.'
"Such scenes, which enlarge the ranks of our enemies by making America look both weak and brutal, are inevitable in the guerrilla war President Bush got us into. Osama bin Laden must be smiling.
U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, 'It's worse than you think.' Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call 'insurgent enclaves,' are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground.
And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down. When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, 'he opened his palms and shrugged.'(Paul Krugman, The New York Times, September 14, 2004)
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Tom Engelhardt: on seeing Iraq as more than an abstraction
"Iraq is far away -- on this the Bush administration counts. If your child or spouse or friend has not died there or your friends or relatives aren't billeted there, the war in Iraq is an abstraction and American deaths in Baghdad or Baquba or Najaf at best tiny, abstract tragedies like those "walls" of faces of the dead in periodic newspaper memorials, each no bigger than your littlest fingernail.
To make that war just a little less abstract, for a moment, let's imagine our troops not in Iraq but at the top of some vast tower of a skyscraper from which, every day, two, or three, or four of them are forced in full view to leap to their deaths, as in fact many workers in the Twin Towers did on that fateful day exactly three years ago. Imagine further that the pile of those who have leaped and died, young soldiers, male and female, sent to fight our President's "war on terror" on the battlefields of Iraq, has slowly risen until by the third cycle through the first 11 days of September, this September 33rd you might say, it has already passed the thousand-body height, only several hundred short of the halfway mark to the total of those who died in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon that terrible morning. (Tom Engelhardt,TomDispatch.com, September, 2004)