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    16 April 2005

    Iraq [UPDATED]

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    [UPDATE 4/18/2005] Final update
    What happend here was very confusing...
    but it is summed up nicely here. There are two threads to this story, one was part of a self-serving campaign by some politician, the other, a sinister plot to start a sectarian war. Either way this event tricked the US backed armies in Iraq into the town, displaing the lack of intel and understanding of events around them. If the americans would could leave the green zone maybe they could avoid this in the future

    the orginal post begins here...
    An entire city is controlled by a Sunni insurgent army...

    Sunni insurgents have taken at least 60 people hostage in the town of Madaen near Baghdad and are threatening to kill them unless Shi'ites leave, a Shi'ite official who said he had been contacted by residents there said.

    "People from the town called me begging the Iraqi government to save their relatives, who are hostages. They told me there are at least 60 hostages," the Shi'ite official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. (LINK)

    and another article a little bit later...

    Insurgents with heavy weapons appeared to have taken control of the mixed Sunni and Shi'ite town of Madaen, just south of Baghdad, and no police or government forces were in sight, said the official. (LINK)

    But let me add a brief snip of the DoD propaganda website right NOW!

    "It's particularly important today ... because the American people need to know the full story," said Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, "because it is going to be their resolve that is so critical to our ability to confront the extremist threat." (LINK)

    Not that our soldiers are doing excellent work, but this story hasn't made front page of one news service, I got this through the Swiss Media.

    So as you wish sir, here is the real Iraq.

    Networks are now reporting that there is a joint operation being carried out by Iraqi and US forces.

    [UPDATE 4/17/2005]
    This is a new tactic for Iraq. They used to kidnap someone or some group of people usually Iraqi police or Shia'. Now they have taken a town and the resulting rescue, if it gets out of hand, could be a lot of bad press for the occupation from any point of view.

    This is appearing to be either hidden from the media due to so many different reports. Or Secular violence not associated with the insurgency directly. This looks more like neighborhood gang violence in some reports, and a major offensive in others. You can bet that if this is another fallujah the public won't like it; and with the secular Bathist-Shia' Allawi leaving the possibilities of problems increases...

    [UPDATE 4/18/2005 via Juan Cole]

    It turns out the story that Sunni guerrillas had kidnapped 100 Shiites in Mada'in and were threatening to kill them may have little or even nothing to it. Iraq is prime ground for the spread of poisonous rumors, since the poor security situation makes it difficult for journalists to check stories, and the battling factions have every reason to circulate falsehoods.

    stupid AP

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    So the AP has a story out where they say in the title that the Taliban is near their end. This is how it starts:
    America’s senior military commander in Afghanistan predicted Saturday the near-total collapse of the Taliban insurgency within a year, but he cautioned that militants remain a danger and could stage a “high-visibility attack” in coming months.

    Lt. Gen. David Barno, speaking at a news conference, did not give any details about a potential attack or say if he had specific intelligence about one.

    and then the rest of the article is filled with al-Qaida/Taliban threats...

    When it comes to Delay, everyone's a critic.

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    LINK (rate it up!)

    Ten former RepublicanImage hosted by Photobucket.com U.S. lawmakers on Friday urged a reversal of new House of Representatives ethics rules that they charged were changed to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay from further investigation.

    In an open letter to Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the former lawmakers said the rule changes early this year, which make it more difficult to probe an ethics complaint, must be reversed "to restore public confidence in the people's House."

    "We felt grave concern when the Republican leadership changed the ethics rules ... We saw it as an obvious action to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay," the letter said.

    15 April 2005

    Reid's message to 'REAL' americans

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    Via Atrios, Senator Reid's statement regarding Frist and his use of religion for political gain:
    I am disappointed that in an attempt to hide what the debate is really about, Senator Frist would exploit religion like this. Religion to me is a very personal thing. I have been a religious man all my adult life. My wife and I have lived our lives and raised our children according to the morals and values taught by the faith to which we prescribe. No one has the right to judge mine or anyone else's personal commitment to faith and religion.

    God isn't partisan.

    As His children, he does ask us to do our very best and treat each other with kindness. Republicans have crossed a line today. America is better than this and Republicans need to remember that. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. We are people of faith, and in many ways are doing God's work. But we represent all Americans, regardless of religion. Our founding fathers had the superior vision to separate Church and State in our democracy. It is a fundamental principle that has allowed our great, diverse nation to grow and flourish peacefully. Blurring the line between Church and State erodes our Constitution, and our democracy. It is a blatant abuse of power. Participating in something designed to incite divisiveness and encourage contention is unacceptable. I would hope that Sen. Frist will rise above something so beyond the pale.

    For once, I'm with the party of angels.

    13 April 2005

    What, a honor?

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    Well this adds to the claim of colleges campusses bein controled by liberals

    President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have shared a common political vision for most of their careers. Now each will share something else — a slime-mold beetle named in his honor.

    Two former Cornell University entomologists, who recently had the job of naming 65 newly discovered species of slime-mold beetles, named three species after the American leaders, dubbing them: Agathidium bushi Miller and Wheeler, Agathidium cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and Agathidium rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler

    12 April 2005

    The Feds don't like it...

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    but art is art, no?

    (click pic for story)

    Dr. Cole

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    Juan Cole jabs at the Iraqi equivalent of our ultra conservative nut-jobs who seem not to think much, vote not for their own best interests, and are mostly hypocrites.

    Some 400 university students in Baquba from the Sadr Movement demonstrated against the US on Monday, chanting "No, no to Jews!" Religious demography doesn't appear to be their strong suit, or they'd have complained about Baptists and Catholics.


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