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Saturday, July 22, 2006


“Purity of Arms” in Lebanon; “The dead are rotting in the rubble of smashed homes”

Mike Whitney

...There are no good options, but one thing is certain. The invasion of Lebanon proves that the crackpot strategy to Balkenize the Arab world and redraw the map of the Middle East is moving forward according to plan. All eyes should be focused on Damascus and the growing likelihood of a regional war. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has taken a chapter from Rumsfeld’s book and decided to "expand the conflict", which means, there’s no telling where it will end. The entire area from the Red Sea to the Caspian Basin has been doused in gasoline and is ready to go up in flames. Lebanon has become a lab-experiment to prove that Israel can extend its model of occupation from Gaza to Beirut...

continua / continued

Modernity and Twentieth Century Holocausts: Empire-Building and Mass Murder

James Petras, Axis of Logic .

..From our review of 20th and 21st century Holocausts, it is clear that great crimes against humanity for the most part do not lead to justice. On the contrary, the historical legacy is one of impunity and most likely recidivism. The record is clear: US impunity after the Korean holocaust led to the holocausts in Indochina, Central America and Iraq. The early Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947-1950 led to new wars of conquest, land dispossession, settler occupation, ghettoization and progression toward a 'final solution’ of total expulsion. Turkish-Armenian genocide denial encouraged the ethnic cleansing of Kurds throughout Anatolia. These crimes against humanity are not merely artifacts of psychopathic rulers, or derivatives from authoritarian traditions, because, as we have shown, there are competing traditions, diverse 'national psychologies’ and countervailing ideologies.What brings to the foreground holocaust behavior, the trigger and motor force, are imperialist drives for domestic cohesion and foreign conquest. It is precisely because imperial powers exercise the holocaust imperative that they are largely unpunished, and, in most cases, their crimes remain unrecognized to this very day...

continua / continued

Statement of the BRussells Tribunal:

Israel’s wanton bombing of Lebanese civilians is an unequivocal war crime States are obliged to protect Lebanon, militarily if necessary, lest international law become a travesty If the Security Council won’t act, the General Assembly can and must

...The BRussells Tribunal, in solidarity with the people of Lebanon, accuses the State of Israel of war crimes and the United States of complicity. We demand the unconditional end of Israeli aggression against the sovereign state and sovereign people of Lebanon. We call upon people of conscience and moral fortitude everywhere to vigorously oppose Israel’s campaign of mass murder and America’s grotesque alliance with Israeli state terrorism. We stand with the Lebanese against imperialism and racism, and in defense of human values, democracy and international law...

continua / continued


.Michael Rivero, WRH

..It all started on July 12 when Israel troops were ambushed on Lebanon's side of the border with Israel. Hezbollah, which commands the Lebanese south, immediately seized on their crossing. They arrested two Israeli soldiers, killed eight Israelis and wounded over 20 in attacks inside Israeli territory. [Asia Times 7/15/06] In a deliberated way, Tsahal sent a commando in the Lebanese back-country to Aïta Al Chaab. It was attacked by Hezbollah, making two prisoners. [voltairenet.org 7/18/06] Do you get it yet? Israel sent troops across the border into Lebanon. They then claimed the captured invaders were "kidnap victims" and launched their attacks...

continua / continued

Palestinian nation under threat

Sir: The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza - an incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis, of which there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this “kidnapping” was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources, most particularly that of water, by the Israeli defence forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements during the last 70 years.

Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows all serve as a distraction to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.

Link Here

Soldiers Say They Had Orders to 'Kill All Military Age Males' in Iraq Raid

Daisy Cutter, Daily Kos

A disturbing report from the AP: Soldiers in Murder Case Claim They Were Ordered to 'Kill All Military Age Males' in Iraq Raid EL PASO, Texas Jul 21, 2006 (AP)-- Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering suspected insurgents during a raid in Iraq said they were under orders to "kill all military age males," according to sworn statements obtained by The Associated Press. The soldiers first took some of the men into custody because they were using two women and a toddler as human shields. They shot three of the men after the women and child were safe and say the men attacked them. "The ROE (rule of engagement) was to kill all military age males on Objective Murray," Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard told investigators, referring to the target by its code name. This is a very chilling statement and horrifying if true. The collective punishment of military age males among rebellious civilian populations is sadly a common tactic of occupying armies. It has become all too familiar in US Military operations. In Fallujah, the Army prohibited military age males from fleeing the city during the late 2004 offensive. The Army also had orders to shoot any men between the ages of 15 and 50 seen on the street, regardless of wether the men were armed or not...

continua / continued

Reassessing the Hariri assassination in the light of recent events


Reassessing the Hariri assassination in the light of recent events: 1. The Hariri assassination, immediately blamed on Syria (with no evidence other than the lies promoted by Mehlis), led directly to Syria being forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. It is obvious that that step was a necessary precondition of Israeli involvement in Lebanon. 2. The huge mystery of the current Israeli adventures is why Israel is sacrificing so much international goodwill in murdering innocent Lebanese civilians, when its stated goal is 'self-defense’ against Hezbollah. In fact, Israel is spending an inordinate amount of time destroying Lebanese infrastructure and making direct attacks against the Lebanese army, the latter particularly odd if Israel really wants the Lebanese army to disarm Hezbollah...

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Israeli crimes against humanity: Gruesome images of charred and mutilated bodies following Israeli air strikes

Commentary by Michel Chossudovsky, Globalresearch.ca

We bring to the attention of Global Research readers photographic evidence of Israel sponsored atrocities. Charred and mutilated bodies following Israeli air strikes: While these gruesome images have been released by acredited news agencies including Reuters, Agence France Press and the Associated Press , they are casually dismissed, they are not considered as reliable evidence of war crimes. There is, in this regard, a deliberate media coverup of Israeli sponsored crimes and atrocities. Civilian casualties continue to be presented in media reports as "collateral damage". Laser guided missiles and "smart bombs" are very precise. They rarely miss their target. When residential buildings are targetted, this means civilians will be killed. These actions ordered by Israel's IDF are quite deliberate.

The atrocities in these pictures are beyond description. Israel has being using, quite deliberately, deadly "weapons of mass destruction" in the real sense of the word against Lebanese civilians.

continua / continued

Lebanon: the U.S. role widens

Eli Stepehens, Left I on the News

A few days ago I likened the U.S. role in blocking international efforts to achieve a cease-fire in Lebanon to the role of a cyclist in the Tour de France, blocking the pack from chasing while their teammate was up the road on a breakaway. But now we've had the U.S. rushing $210 million worth of aviation fuel to Israel, and today we learn of this obscenity: The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday. The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said....

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Is Israel running out of Bombs?

The Replenishing of Israeli WMD stockpiles points to escalation both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon
Michel Chossudovsky, Globalresearch.ca

The aerial attacks on Lebanon have contributed to fuellng the US military industrial complex in what essentially constitutes a "profit driven war". The Israeli air force confirms that it has led 3000 sorties hitting some 1,800 targets since the beginning of the bombing campaign (BBC, 22, July 2006). According to UN sources, close to one million people have been displaced out of a total population of 3.8 million. The country's civilian infrastructure has been destroyed. In contrast to the "shock and awe" March 2003 blitzkrieg over Iraq, the Israelis have aimed almost exclusively civilian targets. Moreover, Lebanon is defenseless. It does not possess an air defense system and the Israelis know it. The number of declared targets is staggering, even when compared, for instance, to the 300 selected strategic targets identified in the 1991 Gulf war...

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Says it all

Senior official says Iraq 'as a political project is finished'

John ByrnePublished: Friday July 21, 2006

A senior unidentified official -- either from the Iraqi government or the United States -- told Reuters Friday that "Iraq as a political project is finished," and that Baghdad might be divided between east and west, RAW STORY has learned.

The story, filed Friday by Reuters Baghdad reporters Ahmed Rasheed and Mariam Karouny, signals an increasingly dire situation in the Iraqi capital. Excerpts follow.
"Iraq as a political project is finished," a top government official told Reuters -- anonymously because the coalition of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to a U.S.-sponsored constitution preserving Iraq's unity.

"The parties have moved to Plan B," the official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's mixed population of seven million.

"There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west," said the official, who has long been a proponent of the present government's objectives. "We are extremely worried."


Correction: A closer reading of the Reuters story indicates the official was not necessarily an American. The change has been reflected in the story as well as the headline.

Post: Military forgot lessons of Vietnam

US commander: Growing violence means more troops to be sent to Baghdad.

Maureen Dowd: 'Air-guitar diplomacy' of Condoleezza Rice

RAW STORYPublished: Saturday July 22, 2006

In her latest column, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd blasts the "air-guitar diplomacy" practiced by Bush's Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in regards to the conflict in Lebanon, RAW STORY has found.

"The more W. and his tough, by-any-means-necessary superbabe have tried to tame the Middle East, the more inflamed the Middle East has become," writes Dowd.

"Now the secretary of state is leaving, reluctantly and belatedly, to do some shuttle diplomacy that entails little diplomacy and no shuttling," Dowd continues. "It's more like air-guitar diplomacy."

Excerpts from Dowd's column:
Condi doesn't want to talk to Hezbollah or its sponsors, Syria and Iran -- "Syria knows what it needs to do," she says with asperity -- and she doesn't want a cease-fire. She wants "a sustainable cease-fire," which means she wants to give the Israelis more time to decimate Hezbollah bunkers with the precision-guided bombs that the Bush administration is racing to deliver.

"I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling, and it wouldn't have been clear what I was shuttling to do," she said.

Keep more civilians from being killed? Or at least keep America from being even more despised in the Middle East and around the globe?

Like Davy Jones, the octopus-headed creature who had to keep sailing Flying Dutchman-like without getting to land in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean," Condi had a hard time finding an Arab port in which to dock.
The cowboy president bet the ranch on Iraq, and that war has made almost any other American action in the Arab world, and any Pax Americana that might have been created there, impossible. It's fitting that Condi is the Flying Dutchman, since Lebanon represents the shipwreck of our Middle East policy.

Israel (can never) win this war of ideas

Published by Antony Loewenstein July 21st, 2006 in Israel
The following editorial appears in today’s Australian newspaper:

Advocates for the Jewish state must use reason, not emotion

The latest battles in the 60-year struggle in the Middle East seem to be going well for Israel. But the Israelis are also fighting on another front, one where victory is essential to their state’s survival – the battlefield of ideas, where Israel’s victories are far fewer and increasingly pyrrhic. In the 30 years since the apex of international support for Israel in 1967, when the beleaguered state won a war of survival against an axis of states committed to its extermination, the Israelis have become increasing victims of two paradoxes. The more military victories they win in the national defence the more they are treated in the West as an aggressor that lives to fight. And the more forcefully Israelis present the case for their own survival the more they are seen as intellectual, as well as military, bullies. Earlier this year American academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published a long essay arguing that the United States’ alliance with Israel was no longer in their nation’s interest. Support for Israel, they claimed, had so enraged the Islamic world that the security of the US, and the West in general, was at risk. And one of the main reasons Israel was protected was because of the power of its propagandists in domestic American politics. It was not an especially convincing argument, reducing Israel’s existence to a cynical realpolitic reckoning of American self-interest. But Mearsheimer and Walt’s suggestions were strengthened by the extraordinary ire their arguments incurred from American allies of Israel.

We saw the same situation writ small on Wednesday night when commentator Antony Loewenstein debated Ted Lapkin from the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council on ABC TV’s Lateline. Much of Mr Loewenstein’s argument was based on emotion rather than analysis. He argued as if Israel were a garrison state addicted to the use of force far in excess of what is required for its national defence. On the basis of what he said on Wednesday night many of Mr Loewenstein’s opinions are reflective of an ill-informed youthful Jewish guilt. But instead of respectfully rebutting his claims exclusively on the basis of facts Mr Lapkin went in hard. He suggested Mr Loewenstein wanted Israel to stop bombing the transport system in the south of Lebanon so “it would be easier for Hezbollah to be re-supplied with rockets” and called Mr Loewenstein part of “the pro-Hezbollah cheer squad”.

Rather than badgering opponents and scoring debating points, supporters of Israel would do far better to calmly deploy an arsenal of facts. Israel, despite being a tiny country surrounded by Arab states who would happily – and on more than one occasion have tried – to push it into the sea, has historically sought peace with its neighbours and only fought to defend itself. The present conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon was not a fight of Israel’s choosing; in fact, Israel had pulled out from Lebanon in 2000 only to see the Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorist group regroup on its northern border. Certainly anyone with a heart will have compassion for the civilians killed in the current conflict with Hezbollah on both sides. Yet the outrage about the accidental wartime deaths of Lebanese children seems to far outweigh that felt for Israeli youth deliberately targeted by suicide bombers in calculated acts of murder. Likewise in the occupied territories, Israel has repeatedly sought to arrive at some sort of accomodation with the Palestinians. Yet it was Israel’s reputation that was sullied during the first Intifada of 1987 to 1993 when images of Arab youths hurling stones at tanks were beamed around the world. But when the collapse of the Soviet Union cut off aid from Moscow the Palestinian leadership was finally forced to the peace table. This led to the signing of the Oslo Accords and the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn. The tragedy is that this promise of peace was false. Since its founding in 1948 Israel has repeatedly faced down hostile enemies who still view its founding as a naqba, or catastrophe. This was shown most dramatically during 1967’s Six Day War. Having been subjected to weeks of threats and surrounded by the mobilised armies of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan, Israel took the initiative and decimated its enemies’ military capabilities. And even though every honest accounting of the war acknowledges Israel was facing overwhelming odds, many in the West see it as an act of Jewish aggression. Israel only occupied land to the east of the cease fire line of 1949 because it was in the process of fighting a defensive war. But the obligation to seek peace is not an obligation to commit national suicide. Who could reasonably expect Israel, a country that is at places just nine miles wide, to withdraw from such defensive buffers in the face of states that have already proven their desire to do it harm? In any case, Arab countries have proved more than happy to delay solutions to the problem of the occupied territories to provide them with a continuing source of propaganda. Soon after Oslo the murder of Israel’s peace making prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish fanatic in 1995 removed one of the strongest advocates for compromise with the Palestinians, as did repeated violations of the Oslo understanding by the Palestinians. By the mid- to late-1990s suicide bomb belts had replaced rocks as the Palestinian weapon of choice. And Yasser Arafat would prove to be nothing but a disaster. Through all of this the Israelis explicitly voted to give land back to the Palestinians in a quest to acheive peace – a very rare act in the history of the world. Events would come to a head with the start of the second Intifada in late 2000, triggered, some say incited, by a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a mosque within the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem. Arab Israelis rioted, and in the West Bank town of Ramallah two Israeli reservists were arrested and lynched in a local Palestinian police station. In the years that followed suicide bombings would take hundreds of lives in Israel. Yet in 2004 Mr Sharon, the most hawkish of Israeli hawks, finally saw a way to make peace by evacuating the Gaza Strip and withdrawing from parts of the West Bank and leaving the Palestinians to run both areas. But once again the hope of peace was betrayed when the Hamas terrorist militia kidnapped an Israeli soldier last month. The terrorists acted in an attempt to derail the possibility of a Palestinian vote on peace with Israel that could have gone against them. This fits a long pattern. For decades, first under a secular leadership and now under a more Islamicised one, every chance for peace has been scotched by a new atrocity committed by a Palestinian or Arab group determined to instead make war. And now Hezbollah has followed them into the fray, with attacks on Israel from the north. This is the long and complex story Israel’s enemies do not want told, instead preferring the narrative of displacement and victimisation that is so commonly heard in the West.

However many battles the Israelis win their sixty year struggle for survival will never end unless they achieve their objectives in the war of ideas. Yet on this fiercely contested front the fighting is not going Israel’s way. The fact is that many people like Mr Loewenstein, young and old alike, are simply unaware of the history of aggression Israel has faced and are naive about the nature of that country’s enemies. Israel’s foes have become adept at working the press and releasing footage of dead civilians. The assumption of many in the media that there is something suspicious about a democracy that fights, rather than appeases its enemies, makes it easy for the ignorant and the anti-Semitic to paint Israel as an aggressor. To counter this individuals like Mr Lapkin, and all who support Israel’s right to exist, need to make the case with calm reason and lay out the facts, from the 1967 war through the Camp David and Oslo accords and Yasser Arafat’s benighted and corrupt leadership. Also worth mentioning are Ehud Barak’s eagerness to sign a peace deal that would have given the Palestinians 95 per cent of their stated desires and which was still rejected by Mr Arafat. Such reasoning would go a long way to counter the opportunists who have especially emerged since September 11 we have seen more opportunists emerge, with arguments the Holocaust is now so distant that the West’s moral debt to Israel is cancelled and that the risk of terror attack makes the price of supporting the Jewish state too high. Paul Sheehan put it precisely in the Sydney Morning Herald when he wrote last week, “The moral legacy of the Holocaust has now passed into history” and concluded that “the combustible policies of the Israeli Government have become a danger to Australia and Australians everywhere”. Mr Sheehan misses the point. The Islamic terrorists he fears hate Hindus and Christians_ and also Muslims who adhere to different doctrines – as much as they do Jews. And by indiscriminately targeting transport in cities all over the world terrorists demonstrate they do not care who they kill. Like Mr Loewenstein, Mr Sheehan’s emotions shape his argument. But this does not mean they can be dismissed with debating tricks, or shouted down. Because every time this happens some Australians question whether the right is on Israel’s side. This is disastrous, because now more than ever Israel needs all the friends it can get.

Addamo_01 Jul 21st, 2006 at 3:08 pm

This piece epitomises why news paper circulation is headed south. The writer is lamenting that news can no longer be managed, and that Israel’s amane corner are having a harder time of it controlling what people read, see and hear.

Mr Loewenstein’s opinions are reflective of an ill-informed youthful Jewish guilt
What this writer is really saying is that the world’s youth has found a new way to communicate and access news (via the internet and blogs) and that dinosaurs and spin meisters like this columints are losing their grip on the power to control what people are told.

Link Here

The pump feels it

Robert Fisk, The Independent, July 20:

How soon must we use the words “war crime”? How many children must be scattered in the rubble of Israeli air attacks before we reject the obscene phrase “collateral damage” and start talking about prosecution for crimes against humanity?

The child whose dead body lies like a rag doll beside the cars which were supposedly taking her and her family to safety is a symbol of the latest Lebanon war; she was hurled from the vehicle in which she and her family were travelling in southern Lebanon as they fled their village - on Israel’s own instructions. Because her parents were apparently killed in the same Israeli air attack, her name is still unknown. Not an unknown warrior, but an unknown child.

When will the international community condemn Israeli-led and US backed state-sponsored
terrorism in Lebanon? Of course,
they’re only Arabs

Sometimes we need The Daily Show to tackle the real issues.

Link Here

The future of Palestine

The following letter appears in The Independenton July 21:

Palestinian nation under threat

Sir: The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza - an incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis, of which there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this “kidnapping” was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources, most particularly that of water, by the Israeli defence forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements during the last 70 years.

Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows all serve as a distraction to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.






Link Here

They hate us

Published by Antony Loewenstein July 22nd, 2006 in General

There is something terribly wrong in “liberated” Afghanistan:

The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan yesterday described the situation in the country as “close to anarchy” with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.

The stark warning came from Lieutenant General David Richards, head of Nato’s international security force in Afghanistan, who warned that western forces there were short of equipment and were “running out of time” if they were going to meet the expectations of the Afghan people.

The assumption within Nato countries had been that the environment in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban in 2002 would be benign, Gen Richards said. “That is clearly not the case,” he said yesterday. He referred to disputes between tribes crossing the border with Pakistan, and divisions between religious and secular factions cynically manipulated by “anarcho-warlords”.


An Afghan government proposal to re-establish the notorious Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has raised concerns among U.S. human rights advocates.

Under the Taliban, the virtue and vice department enforced restrictions on women and men through public beatings and imprisonment.

Its agents “beat women publicly for wearing socks that were not sufficiently opaque; showing their wrists, hands or ankles; and not being accompanied by a close male relative,” Zama Coursin-Neff, of New York-based Human Rights Watch, told OneWorld.

It is time for a serious examination of the role being played by Australian troops in Afghanistan. Are they working with warlords? What are they achieving by being there? It’s time for them to return to Australia, before more are killed. The foreign occupation has achieved a litany of false hopes and the transfer of power from one bunch of despots to another.

Link Here

Child Bride

Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world's cruelty, there is also some kindness.

Link Here

Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world's cruelty, there is also some kindness.

The world unites

The latest information about the conflict can be found here, here and here.

Link Here

The Last Days of the Ocean

News: We're Pushing Our Seas to the Brink. Can They be Saved? A Mother Jones special report.


AP: US Soldiers Were Under Orders To “Kill All Military Aged Men” In Iraq...

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering suspected insurgents during a raid in Iraq said they were under orders to "kill all military age males," according to sworn statements obtained by The Associated Press.

Link Here

The United States military has been defeated. It is thoroughly decimated. Tens of thousands have been seriously wounded, many irreversibly disabled. Twenty-five hundred or so have died. Countless suffer psychological problems and will for a very long time - perhaps for the rest of their lives. Untold numbers of American military families have been ruined, destroyed by time and distance, destroyed by intolerable hardships, destroyed by loss of life.

For Bush's war in Iraq, we've called up the National Guard. We've called in the Reserves. We have seen military recruitment programs spend billions of taxpayer dollars on advertising. We've also witnessed our military spend billions more in offering special incentives for recruitment and re-enlistment. And despite needing the most capable people to operate the most sophisticated military in the world, we've seen unprecedented lowering of recruitment standards ... and then lowering them again ... and yet again ... with no end in sight. We've witnessed the raising of age limits for enlistment ... and then raising it again. And notwithstanding all of the above, we have record low enlistment and we have had to resort to stop-loss programs to keep some soldiers fighting in the field.

More ironic still, we cannot keep the most highly trained Special Forces combat veterans because they are being seduced with small fortunes by "private security" firms hired to protect American contractors in Iraq - who are also paid for by our tax dollars. So we spend billions of dollars trying to enlist more soldiers at the very same time we spend billions more luring them away from the military. Those are your taxes at work ... working at cross-purposes!


Along with the protracted tours of duty, the hardships in Iraq, the uncertainty of the mission, the absence of any definition of victory or timetable for withdrawal and the lowering of enlistment standards, we see a precipitous decline in US troop morale.


Admitedly, its tough to maintain high morale when the danger level is so high and there are few avenues of stress relief. Unlike serving in Europe and SE Asia, there is very little nightlife for our troops - few opportunities for sexual expression in Iraq, which has become an increasingly fundamentalist Islamic society since our invasion. So the logical conclusion seems to have become rape - not only of the native inhabitants - but of our own troops. Imagine trying to keep your sanity, keep up your morale when you are raped?


And if all this wasn't enough, now we've got racist graffiti in Baghdad, courtesy of skin-heads and Neo-Nazis who have become pervasive in our military ranks. It's just our way of "winning the hearts and minds" of the Iraqis - and making Iraq a training-ground, not only for terrorists, but for future Timothy McVeighs. (a veteran, if you'll recall, of the first Gulf War ) How many will come home now with specialized training, only to blow up more Americans?


Could our military be in any worse shape? Well ... yeah! There's also this bit of news obtained through the FoIA:

("The Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq.)
... and ...
(Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year, accounting for nearly one in five of all non-combat deaths and was the highest suicide rate since the war started, the newspaper said.
'Chemically active time bombs'
 Some service members who committed suicide in 2004 and 2005 were kept on duty despite clear signs of mental distress, sometimes after being prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring. Those findings conflict with regulations adopted last year by the Army that caution against the use of antidepressants for "extended deployments."
"I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on (antidepressants), when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal," said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection. "You're creating chemically activated time bombs.")

Where do all of these revelations leave us? In just three short years, we've witnessed the steady descent of what was once the best trained, best supplied, and most disciplined fighting machine in the world, with the highest morale of any armed forces on earth ...
... reduced to becoming racists and torturers ...
... reduced to becoming rapists and murderers ...
... and those who survive long enough to return home may be "ticking time bombs" !!!

And who is responsible for the incalculable wartime failure of the past three years? Who single-handedly brought the most powerful nation on earth to its knees? Who did this to us?

Was it Osama bin Laden?

No! It couldn't be. We don't even care where he is. The president himself has stated that he doesn't consider him a priority. The CIA has closed the section that was dedicated to finding him.

Was it Saddam Hussein?

Certainly not! He's in custody and currently on trial for acts he was committing with our sanction - back when he was our ally. (Yes, that's right. Look up the charges filed against Hussein and the dates when he was supposed to have committed those crimes )

Was it Iran? Could they have done this to our military? No.

How about North Korea? It must be Lil' Kim's long dongs, right? Wrong again!

Who could possibly be responsible for the crippling of the greatest military force on earth?

It was George W. Bush.

It was the commander in chief - who had no plan other than to invade.
It was the President of the United States - who had no exit strategy.
It was the chosen one - who still, after more time than it took to wage World War II, has not even a timetable for our withdrawal from Iraq. And the REPUBLICAN PARTY still supports our FAILING OCCUPATION !!!

Yes, it's been George W. Bush ... and the people who have supported him. A man so proud of being the "decider" that he'll never admit when he's "decided" wrong. That is who is responsible for the devastation of our fighting forces after three years of utter failure in Iraq ... three years that can never be undone ... time that will forever be known as the failure of the president who wouldn't learn from his mistakes.
And it's three years ... AND COUNTING ... with no end in sight.

The assault on our military has been George W. Bush's ...

... and, by extension, those who support him.

So now our military orders, at least the ones we follow, include the extermination of any Iraqi man capable of defending his homeland. How desperate must be our situation there for our army to slaughter people ... in a country we have no business being in?

And when will the American people put a stop to it?
By: nyland8 on July 21

"Ich war nur folgende Aufträge."

("I was only following orders.")


`By: OZ----

The true monsters in any conflict are not those issuing orders, but those that follow blindly.

By: WeTheCorporations

Two Fmr. Pentagon Officials Accused Of Iraq Contracting Fraud...

Associated Press Deborah Hastings July 22, 2006 at 10:05 AM

Two former Pentagon officials, including an acting secretary of the Navy, have been accused of scheming with a banned American contractor to get lucrative rebuilding contracts in Iraq, The Associated Press has learned.The contracting firm, Custer Battles LLC, was suspended two years ago by the military for submitting millions of dollars in fake invoices.


FOCUS | Bush Admin. Rushing More Bombs to Israel

The Bush administration is rushing precision-guided bombs to Israel. The request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike. An arms-sale package approved last year allows Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 "bunker buster" weapons, GBU-28s developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground.


"Preparing Mr. Reed's Political Obituary"...

The New York Times David D. Kirkpatrick July 22, 2006 at 09:02 AM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

As a seasoned political strategist, Ralph Reed knew from the first returns on Tuesday night that the news was bad and even laughed at the television pundits who suggested that the race was still up for grabs.

But this time the loss he was assessing was not a client's but his own first bid to win elective office -- the lieutenant governorship of Georgia. It would have been the next big step in a seemingly unstoppable career that had already vaulted him to the head of the Christian Coalition at the age of 29, to the cover of Time magazine at the age of 33, and to the inner circle of President Bush's political advisers by the age of 39...

...Now, a dozen years after Time proclaimed him "The Right Hand of God," some are preparing Mr. Reed's political obituary, wondering what he will do after his rejection by the evangelical churchgoers whose support formed the foundation of his reputation as a political activist and his personal fortune as a political consultant.


Diplomats See Nominee Bolton “As A Stand-In For The Arrogance Of The Bush Administration”...

The New York Times Warren Hoge July 22, 2006 at 01:03 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, John Bolton

In recent months, as one international crisis followed another, John R. Bolton has fulfilled the role of the United Nations' most influential ambassador at full strength, firmly articulating the position of the United States government regarding Iran, North Korea and the Middle East.

His performance won over at least one crucial critic, Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio. Mr. Voinovich's opposition a year ago forced Mr. Bolton to take the job as a presidential recess appointment, an arrangement that expires at the end of this Congress in January.


Israeli Tanks Roll Into Lebanon...Hezbollah Fires Back...US Speeds Up Bomb Delivery To Israel…

Associated Press Benjamin Harvey July 22, 2006 at 11:07 AM
READ MORE: Lebanon

Israeli tanks and hundreds of troops moved in and out of Lebanon on Saturday, taking over a village, entering a U.N. observation post and engaging Hezbollah militants by land, sea and air as part of the country's limited ground campaign. Meanwhile, the Israeli military said that Hezbollah guerrillas attacked a military base near the border, wounding one soldier.

The Israeli soldiers -- backed by artillery and tank fire -- took control of the large Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, military officials said on condition of anonymity.


La. doctors outraged at murder accusation

On whose watch did this happen? But notable he was no where in sight, he strummed without any concern for the people that died. The LOSER did not give a friking care about the people of New Orleans, the whole world saw that, and they dare to charge a doctor and two nurses, who stayed to care. Where is the OUTRAGE America, again he gets aways with his gross ineptitude and callousness for the populus of America in general. The greatest sin of a Nation is silence.
By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 13 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS - To Louisiana's attorney general, the doctor and two nurses arrested this past week are murderers. But many in the medical community are outraged at the arrests, saying the three caregivers are heroes who faced unimaginable horrors as Hurricane Katrina flooded the city and trapped them and their patients.

Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo were accused of being principals to second-degree murder in the deaths of four patients at Memorial Medical Center three days after Katrina hit. The charge carries a mandatory life sentence, though the state will turn the case over to the New Orleans prosecutor, who will decide whether to ask a grand jury to bring charges.

Pou, Landry and Budo are accused of killing four patients, ages 61 to 90, with morphine and a powerful sedative called Versed.

Dr. Ben deBoisblanc, director of critical care at Charity Hospital, said he and others are angry at the accusations against a doctor and nurses who risked their own safety, and provided care in a chaotic and frightening situation.

"This doctor and these nurses were heroes. They stayed behind of their own volition to care for desperately ill people. They had an opportunity to leave and chose not to," he said.

Memorial Medical was swamped with 10 feet of water and isolated by Katrina's flooding. The 317-bed hospital had no electricity and the temperature inside rose over 100 degrees as the staff tried to tend to patients who waited four days to be evacuated.

Attorneys for the trio say they are innocent. DeBoisblanc and others fear the accusations may discourage other health professionals.

"We have people who are volunteering their services and putting their lives on the line. It's going to make it less likely they'll do that in the future," said Dr. Peter deBlieux, an emergency room and intensive care doctor who stayed at Charity Hospital during Katrina.

DeBoisblanc said it's also likely to make doctors less eager to return as the city tries to recover from the hurricane.

"If you think that going after physicians and nurses while hardened criminals are ruling this town, if you think that's an image that's going to bring people back, you've got to be kidding yourself," he said, noting the recent rash of violent crime in New Orleans.

Kris Wartelle, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the agency had to investigate the claims at Memorial because it must enforce the law.

"Where is the sympathy for the victims? Why is there no outcry for the people who would have not died had they gotten out?" she said. "These are not terminal people begging to be put out of their misery."

Pou, Landry and Budo were the first medical professionals charged in a monthslong criminal investigation into whether many of New Orleans' sick and elderly were abandoned or put out of their misery in the days after the storm.

"This case is not over yet," said Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti.

Hundreds of people were stranded in the hospital with no power to run lights or elevators and no running water. Anyone willing to carry a gun was deputized to watch the entrances as people broke into nearby buildings.

"We had no communication floor to floor, much less to the outside world. We were surrounded by water. It was hotter than Hades," said Dr. Gregory Vorhoff, who was at Memorial after the storm but left to seek help before the alleged killings. "It was as bad as you can imagine."

Under such conditions, even patients who might have been able to walk or were relatively stable before Katrina could easily have lapsed into critical condition, doctors say.

"It's very easy for a relatively healthy person to go down quickly," said Dr. Daniel Nuss, Pou's department head at Louisiana State University, where Pou has given up clinical duties until the case is resolved.

He and other doctors said the morphine and Versed that investigators found in the patients' bodies are commonly given to relieve suffering and anxiety.

"If you didn't find sedatives and analgesics in these people, I would think that was inhumane," deBoisblanc said. "The very fact that you found these drugs means nothing."

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Eli Stephens, Left I on the News

Two days ago, I watched Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres being interviewed on MSNBC, and denying categorically that Israel had any intention of entering Lebanon. The next day, Israeli troops crossed the border into Lebanon (albeit in a limited manner). Yesterday, all over the news was the claim that Israel had dropped 23 tons of bombs on a "senior leadership bunker" in Beirut. Hizballah denied it, claiming that "the strike hit a building that was under construction for a mosque." Today CNN's Alessio Vinci, along with other reporters, visited the site, and reported that, as far as they could tell, the site was, you guessed it, a mosque under construction...

continua / continued

Burned because he is a Sunni, Hospital refused to treat him because his name is Omar

Roads to Iraq

..When people brought Omar to the hospital for treatment, the answer is always negative because the only hospital can treat Omar’s case was "Ibn Sina hospital" because this hospital is the only one in Iraq has the possibilities to treat "burns wounded" patients. People were shocked when they heard the director of the hospital refused to provide healthcare for the child after he knew that his name is: (Omar)! and he said: (Name is Omar! Better for him to die then, we don’t have treatments for people called Omar)!.

continua / continued

US intelligence chief blocks analysis of Iraq civil war

RAW STORYPublished: Friday July 21, 2006

Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte is preventing a thorough examination by intelligence analysts of the civil war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

A report at Washington Babylon, the blog of Harper's Magazine's Washington Editor Ken Silverstein, indicates that Iraq analysts at the CIA have been pushing to complete a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the political situation in the country. NIE's are the most authoritative intelligence documents produced by the CIA, and the last NIE on Iraq was rejected by the Bush administration for being too negative.

But since the calls to analyze the Iraq conflict have emerged, Silverstein reports, Negroponte has tamped them down. One of Silverstein's sources explained that Negroponte didn't want President George W. Bush to be confronted with a pessimistic assessment of the war in Iraq.
An excerpt from the blog post is included below.
“What do you call the situation in Iraq right now?” asked one person familiar with the situation. “The analysts know that it's a civil war, but there's a feeling at the top that [using that term] will complicate matters.” Negroponte, said another source regarding the potential impact of a pessimistic assessment, “doesn't want the president to have to deal with that.”

The sources said that forces at the CIA have been lobbying for the new NIE for about six months. Not only is one overdue, but there's also a fear that if the Democrats win control of at least one chamber of Congress this November, the agency is going to get hammered for not having produced an NIE for so long.

When the topic of a new NIE was first raised, the Directorate of National Intelligence agreed to consider the matter, but advocates heard nothing back. They raised the topic again several months ago and were told that Negroponte was still mulling over the matter. Since then, there's been no indication that the DNI intends to authorize a new NIE. “He's not going to allow [analysts] to call the situation warts and all,” said one source. “There's real angst about it inside.”


Pentagon OKs $6 bln in arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Thu Jul 20, 2006 09:54 PM ET
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Thursday it approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of 24 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters, radios, armoured vehicles and other military equipment worth more than $6 billion (3.25 billion pounds).

Congress has 30 days to block the sales, although such action is rare.

The Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said the principal contractors for the different sales included Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp., General Electric Co., Harris Corp., ITT Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Raytheon Corp..

The agency said in a mandatory notice to Congress that the arms sales would help strengthen Saudi Arabia's military and its ability to help the United States fight terrorism around the world. The deal comes amid escalating fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. >>>cont
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Bush Gets Chilly Reception at NAACP

Declaring it a "tragedy" that the Republican Party has alienated black voters, President Bush ended his five-year boycott of the NAACP convention on Thursday with a pledge to repair his relationship with the country's oldest civil rights group. But although Bush won a rousing ovation for his promise to sign a renewal of civil rights-era voting laws, he received a chillier reception as he laid out his ideas for improving the state of black America.

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The Color of "Transparency" Is Black

"I began skimming through the introductory matter and the boldface headings of the Jacoby Report," writes Karen J. Greenberg. "I stopped first at 'Detainee Operations Standard Operating Procedures.' Here it would be in black and white - or so I thought. But, as it happened, I was only half right. Startling amounts of the report were redacted or blacked out. Where there should have been text against white space, there was section after section filled with nothing but solid black blocs. Even some subsection titles were missing. Pure ink. Meant not to be read."

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Bush Loses First Round in Wiretap Suit

A federal judge Thursday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's domestic spying program, rejecting government claims that allowing the case to go forward could expose state secrets and jeopardize the war on terror.

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Congress Should Sue Bush, Says The American Bar Association...

US News & World Report Elizabeth Weiss Green July 21, 2006 at 11:00 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

George W. Bush did not invent the document known as the presidential signing statement; he inherited it. Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and even James Monroe, in 1830, authored the statements, which spell out the president's sometimes controversial interpretation of the very law he's signing. But no president has used signing statements quite like Bush.

Although the president has not issued more statements in total than any other president, he has challenged more than 750 laws in more than 100 signing statements. And he has used them to, in effect, challenge parts of laws, and challenge them more aggressively, than any president before him. Bush's liberal use of those statements first attracted attention in December 2005, when he signed a torture ban--but then added a statement reserving the right not to enforce the ban, alongside his signature. Since then, Congress has held a hearing to investigate Bush's use of the statements, a bipartisan advocacy group has condemned their use, and Democratic Rep. Barney Frank has introduced a bill that would allow Congress to override content in them that contradicts signed legislation.


Pentagon Sold Military Equipment That “Could Be Used By Terrorists,” Says Govt. Report...

Associated Press Andrew Miga July 21, 2006 at 11:25 PM

Undercover government investigators purchased sensitive surplus military equipment such as launcher mounts for shoulder-fired missiles and guided missile radar test sets from a Defense Department contractor.

Much of the equipment could be useful to terrorists, according to a draft report by theGovernment Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.


NY Times: US Speeds Up Bomb Delivery To Israel...

The New York Times David S. Cloud And Helene Cooper July 21, 2006 at 11:12 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, Lebanon, Israel

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran's efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.


Stem-Cell Science Vetoed

President Bush executed his first veto since entering office on a bill supporting stem-cell research. What do you think?

Susan Faden,Systems Analyst"

Maybe Bush would pass the bill if, instead of research, the stem cells would be used for torture."

Ray Kiley,Bar Back

"If God wanted to cure or treat diseases affecting 100 million people, he would've put a sane person in the Oval Office."

Mitchell Goldberg,Lawyer

"To Bush's credit, the ailing and enfeebled can't vote, let alone fund a Republican campaign."


"No one will help me get them out":

Somewhere beneath the tangled mass of smashed concrete, steel rods, dust and the volcano-like crater left by an Israeli bomber lay the remains of Mrs Qudsi, her 30-year-old daughter-in-law and her three children aged from 4 to 11.

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"Only civilians lived here":

Rubble, smoke and tangled webs of dangling electrical cables now reside in an area that formerly housed over 500,000 Lebanese, the aftermath of Israeli air strikes that have ravaged Beirut's southern suburbs and show no sign of ending.

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=== Struggle to reach wounded:

The woman was fortunate. She made it to the hospital. But out in the hinterlands between the Israeli border and the Litani river, the heart of the war zone where the bombardment is most relentless, witnesses say casualties are dying untreated.

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Israel set war plan more than a year ago

Matthew Kalman, Chronicle Foreign Service
Friday, July 21, 2006

07-21) 04:00 PDT Jerusalem -- Israel's military response by air, land and sea to what it considered a provocation last week by Hezbollah militants is unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago.

In the six years since Israel ended its military occupation of southern Lebanon, it watched warily as Hezbollah built up its military presence in the region. When Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers last week, the Israeli military was ready to react almost instantly.
"Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.

Israeli officials say their pinpoint commando raids should not be confused with a ground invasion. Nor, they say, do they herald another occupation of southern Lebanon, which Israel maintained from 1982 to 2000 -- in order, it said, to thwart Hezbollah attacks on Israel. Planners anticipated the likelihood of civilian deaths on both sides. Israel says Hezbollah intentionally bases some of its operations in residential areas. And Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has bragged publicly that the group's arsenal included rockets capable of bombing Haifa, as occurred last week.

Like all plans, the one now unfolding also has been shaped by changing circumstances, said Eran Lerman, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence who is now director of the Jerusalem office of the American Jewish Committee.

"There are two radical views of how to deal with this challenge, a serious professional debate within the military community over which way to go," said Lerman. "One is the air power school of thought, the other is the land-borne option. They create different dynamics and different timetables. The crucial factor is that the air force concept is very methodical and almost by definition is slower to get results. A ground invasion that sweeps Hezbollah in front of you is quicker, but at a much higher cost in human life and requiring the creation of a presence on the ground."

The advance scenario is now in its second week, and its success or failure is still unfolding. Whether Israel's aerial strikes will be enough to achieve the threefold aim of the campaign -- to remove the Hezbollah military threat; to evict Hezbollah from the border area, allowing the deployment of Lebanese government troops; and to ensure the safe return of the two Israeli soldiers abducted last week -- remains an open question. Israelis are opposed to the thought of reoccupying Lebanon.

"I have the feeling that the end is not clear here. I have no idea how this movie is going to end," said Daniel Ben-Simon, a military analyst for the daily Haaretz newspaper.

Thursday's clashes in southern Lebanon occurred near an outpost abandoned more than six years ago by the retreating Israeli army. The place was identified using satellite photographs of a Hezbollah bunker, but only from the ground was Israel able to discover that it served as the entrance to a previously unknown underground network of caves and bunkers stuffed with missiles aimed at northern Israel, said Israeli army spokesman Miri Regev.

"We knew about the network, but it was fully revealed (Wednesday) by the ground operation of our forces," said Regev. "This is one of the purposes of the pinpoint ground operations -- to locate and try to destroy the terrorist infrastructure from where they can fire at Israeli citizens."

Israeli military officials say as much as 50 percent of Hezbollah's missile capability has been destroyed, mainly by aerial attacks on targets identified from intelligence reports. But missiles continue to be fired at towns and cities across northern Israel.

"We were not surprised that the firing has continued," said Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "Hezbollah separated its leadership command-and-control system from its field organization. It created a network of tiny cells in each village that had no operational mission except to wait for the moment when they should activate the Katyusha rocket launchers hidden in local houses, using coordinates programmed long ago to hit Nahariya or Kiryat Shemona, or the kibbutzim and villages."

"From the start of this operation, we have also been active on the ground across the width of Lebanon," said Brig. Gen. Ron Friedman, head of Northern Command headquarters. "These missions are designed to support our current actions. Unfortunately, one of the many missions which we have carried out in recent days met with slightly fiercer resistance."

Israel didn't need sophisticated intelligence to discover the huge buildup of Iranian weapons supplies to Hezbollah by way of Syria, because Hezbollah's patrons boasted about it openly in the pages of the Arabic press. As recently as June 16, less than four weeks before the Hezbollah border raid that sparked the current crisis, the Syrian defense minister publicly announced the extension of existing agreements allowing the passage of trucks shipping Iranian weapons into Lebanon.

But to destroy them, Israel needed to map the location of each missile.

"We need a lot of patience," said Hanegbi. "The (Israeli Defense Forces) action at the moment is incapable of finding the very last Katyusha, or the last rocket launcher primed for use hidden inside a house in some village."

Moshe Marzuk, a former head of the Lebanon desk for Israeli Military Intelligence who now is a researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, said Israel had learned from past conflicts in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza -- as well as the recent U.S. experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq -- that a traditional military campaign would be counter-effective.

"A big invasion is not suitable here," said Marzuk. "We are not fighting an army, but guerrillas. It would be a mistake to enter and expose ourselves to fighters who will hide, fire off a missile and run away. If we are to be on the ground at all, we need to use commandos and special forces."

Link Here

Friday, July 21, 2006

U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis



Published: July 22, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that she would head to Israel on Sunday at the beginning of a round of Middle Eastern diplomacy. The original plan was to include a stop to Cairo in her travels, but she did not announce any stops in Arab capitals.

Instead, the meeting of Arab and European envoys planned for Cairo will take place in Italy, Western diplomats said. While Arab governments initially criticized Hezbollah for starting the fight with Israel in Lebanon, discontent is rising in Arab countries over the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, and the governments have become wary of playing host to Ms. Rice until a cease-fire package is put together.

To hold the meetings in an Arab capital before a diplomatic solution is reached, said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel, “would have identified the Arabs as the primary partner of the United States in this project at a time where Hezbollah is accusing the Arab leaders of providing cover for the continuation of Israel’s military operation.”

The decision to stay away from Arab countries for now is a markedly different strategy from the shuttle diplomacy that previous administrations used to mediate in the Middle East. “I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,” Ms. Rice said Friday. “I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.”

Before Ms. Rice heads to Israel on Sunday, she will join President Bush at the White House for discussions on the Middle East crisis with two Saudi envoys, Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the secretary general of the National Security Council.

The new American arms shipment to Israel has not been announced publicly, and the officials who described the administration’s decision to rush the munitions to Israel would discuss it only after being promised anonymity. The officials included employees of two government agencies, and one described the shipment as just one example of a broad array of armaments that the United States has long provided Israel.

One American official said the shipment should not be compared to the kind of an “emergency resupply” of dwindling Israeli stockpiles that was provided during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when an American military airlift helped Israel recover from early Arab victories.

David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said: “We have been using precision-guided munitions in order to neutralize the military capabilities of Hezbollah and to minimize harm to civilians. As a rule, however, we do not comment on Israel’s defense acquisitions.”

Israel’s need for precision munitions is driven in part by its strategy in Lebanon, which includes destroying hardened underground bunkers where Hezbollah leaders are said to have taken refuge, as well as missile sites and other targets that would be hard to hit without laser and satellite-guided bombs.

Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means. But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28’s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.

An announcement in 2005 that Israel was eligible to buy the “bunker buster” weapons described the GBU-28 as “a special weapon that was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground.” The document added, “The Israeli Air Force will use these GBU-28’s on their F-15 aircraft.”

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