Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Hagel calls Iraq 'replay of Vietnam'
Calling conditions in Iraq "an absolute replay of Vietnam," Sen. Chuck Hagel said Friday that the Pentagon is making a mistake by beefing up American forces in Iraq. U.S. soldiers have become "easy targets" in a country that has descended into "absolute anarchy," the Nebraska Republican and Vietnam combat veteran said in an interview with The World-Herald. Hagel previously has likened the war in Iraq to Vietnam, but Friday's comments drew a stronger connection.
Friday, July 28, 2006
3,700 Troops' Stay In Iraq Is Extended
From The Washington Post:
Defense Department officials announced yesterday that the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which has been deployed in Mosul since last summer, will be extended for as long as 120 days to boost security in Baghdad.
The Alaska-based 172nd has been in northern Iraq, which has been relatively peaceful, compared with the most restive areas of the country. But the extension means that about 3,700 troops who had been planning to return home over the next two weeks probably will remain for at least the next six weeks and possibly as long as four months, this time in the most violent area of the country, officials said.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Military towns giving rise to Iraq war critics
From USA Today:
Some of the most pointed critiques of the administration's policy in Iraq are coming from lawmakers who represent constituencies with close ties to the military. Their criticism underscores how widespread concerns about the war have become, even in areas where support has been strong for President Bush or the troops.
•Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. Shortly after the war began in 2003, Jones attended a Marine's funeral at Camp Lejeune. He recalls it in vivid detail, down to the toy dropped by the fallen soldier's 4-year-old son and the gunnery sergeant who picked it up. "I'm seeing a boy who will never know his daddy, a wife who will never see her husband on this Earth again," says Jones, one of the few Republicans to call for a troop pullout.
•Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. From a state that traditionally sends high numbers to the military, Byrd calls himself "the last man out of Vietnam" because of his staunch support for that war. Yet he was one of the earliest critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Byrd calls Bush's policies "arrogant" and "reckless."
•Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn. In a debate last month in the House of Representatives, Gutknecht defended the U.S. presence in Iraq. "Now is not the time to go wobbly," he said. He visited Iraq last week hoping to meet some of the 2,900 Minnesota Guard and Reserve members stationed there, and returned shaken. "It's a much more dangerous place than I thought," says Gutknecht.
Read the entire article.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Iraq ban extended as attacks rise
A daytime traffic curfew has been extended in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a bid to curb increasing violence.
The ban, enforced on Fridays to prevent attacks on mosques during weekly prayers, now covers most of the day.
It comes as two bomb attacks on mosques in Baghdad and the town of Khalis, north of the capital, killed two people and injured at least four others.
Meanwhile, the US military says three people, including a child, have been killed during a raid in Baquba.
The US military said soldiers were searching for what it called senior al-Qaeda in Iraq members. It said two suspected militants were also killed in the raid and 23 others were injured.
In a statement, it said it "regretted" the civilian deaths.
Authorities hope the extended traffic ban in Baghdad will curb violence in the capital which has increased over the past few weeks.
The traffic ban will now end at 1900H (1700 GMT) instead of at 1500H, just two hours before the daily night-time curfew begins.
The BBC's Jane Peel in Baghdad says after a bloody week with car bombings and sectarian killings in and around the capital, Friday has so far been quieter.
The city is increasingly a dangerous place to live, our correspondent says.
According to official figures, 1,000 bodies have been taken to the city mortuary so far this month, of which 80% are said to be the victims of violence.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Krugman: March of Folly
A taste of Paul Krugman's NY Times column from Sunday:
Since those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it — and since the cast of characters making pronouncements on the crisis in the Middle East is very much the same as it was three or four years ago — it seems like a good idea to travel down memory lane. Here’s what they said and when they said it:
“The greatest thing to come out of [invading Iraq] for the world economy ... would be $20 a barrel for oil.” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), February 2003
“Oil Touches Record $78 on Mideast Conflict.” Headline on www.foxnews.com, July 14, 2006
“The administration’s top budget official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion,” saying that “earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.” The New York Times, Dec. 31, 2002
“According to C.B.O.’s estimates, from the time U.S. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, $290 billion has been allocated for activities in Iraq. ... Additional costs over the 2007-2016 period would total an estimated $202 billion under the first [optimistic] scenario, and $406 billion under the second one.” Congressional Budget Office, July 13, 2006
“Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There’s been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia.” Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense and now president of the World Bank, Feb. 27, 2003
“West Baghdad is no stranger to bombings and killings, but in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Shia gunmen are seeking to drive out the once-dominant Sunni minority and the Sunnis are forming neighborhood posses to retaliate. Mosques are being attacked. Scores of innocent civilians have been killed, their bodies left lying in the streets.” The Times of London, July 14, 2006
Read the rest here.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
‘Closer to the beginning’ in Iraq war
THE ASSOCIATED PRESSWASHINGTON - The Army’s top uniformed officer said Friday he did not think the United States was losing the war in Iraq but declined to say the nation was winning.
Americans should brace for a long fight against terrorism, said Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff.
“I believe that we are closer to the beginning . . . than we are to the end,” he said during a luncheon on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Defense Forum Foundation.
When asked whether the military was winning in Iraq, Schoomaker paused before telling the audience of mostly congressional staffers: “I don’t think we’re losing.”
Schoomaker cited sectarian violence as a serious problem and said achieving security and said achieving security was becoming more “complex.”
“Where I think we are on the scale of winning I think is a very difficult thing, and I think times will tell,” he said.
The four-star general said there were promising developments in the war, including significant progress made in the past six months in training Iraq’s security forces.
The war in Iraq has cost almost $300 billion and would total almost a half-trillion dollars even if all U.S. troops were withdrawn by the end of 2009, a recent Congressional Budget Office report said.
The high cost of the war, the death toll and lengthy combat tours for U.S. troops have put substantial political pressure on the Bush administration to reduce the number of U.S. personnel deployed to Iraq this year. The Pentagon has said it hopes to begin troop reductions this year if conditions on the ground allow it.
Schoomaker said Friday he does not envision reducing the time soldiers spend deployed in Iraq because shorter combat tours would cause too much “turbulence” in the war. Soldiers are typically sent for yearlong deployments in Iraq, which many experts say is too long and stressful.
The chief of staff acknowledged stress from prolonged exposure to combat was a problem but said recent abuse cases were isolated instances.
“I would just ask you to place yourself in the boots of these young people” and consider the daily “life-and-death decisions” made under tough conditions, Schoomaker said.
Friday, July 14, 2006
US Iraq war costs may rise by $406 billion by 2016
WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years, depending on how quickly U.S. force levels can be reduced, congressional budget experts said on Thursday.
The Congressional Budget Office offered two cost scenarios for the war, which it said so far has cost almost $300 billion.
If the number of U.S. troops in the Iraqi theater can be reduced to 140,000 next year from the current level of about 190,000 and all are withdrawn by the end of 2009, the CBO said military operations will cost another $166 billion in 2007-2016.
But if troop levels decline more slowly and remain at about 40,000 through 2016, the CBO said military operations will cost another $368 billion.
In addition, the CBO said U.S. funding for Iraqi security forces could total $15 billion over the next 10 years, and diplomatic and foreign aid could cost another $15 billion over that period.
Additional costs for veterans' medical care, disability compensation and survivor benefits caused by the war in 2007-2016 would cost $6 billion if troops are withdrawn by the end of 2009. They would cost $8 billion if troops remain longer, the CBO said.
The war costs have far exceeded the $100 billion to $200 billion estimate that then- White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey offered before the war -- a number quickly shot down by other White House officials as unrealistically high.
The CBO, Congress' nonpartisan watchdog, said predicting costs of the war has been more difficult than usual because the Bush administration "has provided little detail on actual costs to date, making it hard to use past expenditures to predict future costs."
Estimates based on standard models and cost factors have "been consistently less than the amounts requested by the administration for the war on terrorism," the agency said.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
Poll Says: Withdraw From Iraq Now
Four US Soldiers Charged With Rape And Murder In Iraq
Iraq a `needless' war: McGovern
Re-Interpreting Iraq: Propaganda campaign underway
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Welcome to the Anti-War Blog Coalition
We support our troops 100 percent, which is why we want them to come home as soon as possible. Nothing can ever make up for their sacrifices and there is nothing the Bush Administration can do to ever make up for their own unprecedented ignorance and lack of regard for human life.
Over three years ago, Michael Moore stated at his less than popular Oscar acceptance speech that, “We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.” His views were not received well at the time, but time has proven him right. We are still fighting this war for fictitious reasons!
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