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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Soldier Sentenced To 110 Years In Prison For Rape, Murder In Attack On Iraqi Family

A soldier convicted of rape and murder in an attack on an Iraqi teenager and her family was sentenced Saturday to 110 years in prison,
with the possibility of parole after 10 years.
The jury had recommended life with parole, a sentence under which he would have to wait longer for the possibility of freedom.
Says it all, doesn,t it
Spielman's sister, Paige Gerlach, screamed: "I hate the government. You people put him (in Iraq) and now, this happened."
Now isn't that the truth

Associated Press RYAN LENZ August 4, 2007 09:50 PM
A soldier convicted of rape and murder in an attack on an Iraqi teenager and her family was sentenced Saturday to 110 years in prison.
The sentence was part of a plea agreement attorneys for Pfc. Jesse Spielman had made with prosecutors that set the number of years he could serve in prison, regardless of the jury's recommendation.


A impotence of a President who is always to late.

I never smiled at the mention of his name, I needed to puke just thinging about the sleezy impotent little thug

Chris Durang, 08.01.2007
I found it intriguing and informative to listen to Michael Ware's assessment of things, right after hearing Cheney admiringly quote O'Hanlon and Pollack.

This is the link to the entire Ware interview

Ware I also admit it: I can't believe a single thing Bush or Cheney says, can you?
May I quote Peggy Noonan on Bush's trustability?:
...what it is about [Bush], real or perceived, that makes people who used to smile at the mention of his name now grit their teeth...
Read Post

Georgie will just Veto

The trouble is that Cheney and Bush are happy to divide the country. They mean to play their terrible hand to the end;

And they do not take no for an answer. Compromise with them, and you are the one who is compromised. The statement by Dick Cheney in January 2007, about the impact of the election on his plans for the Middle East, showed the curious streak of frankness that marks his political character. "It won't stop us," he said. Wanted: a Constitutional Democrat
On Friday, by a vote of 60-28, the Senate passed the measure that President Bush had requested to enhance his powers of warrantless wiretapping. It is said that these new powers will not cover phone calls made within the United States; but the effect of the vote is certainly to remove a constitutional check. We now have the president's word that he will act with restraint.

Hiroshima Day message 'still rings true'

August 5, 2007 - 12:59PM
Australia's growing international belligerence means the anti-war message of Hiroshima Day continues to ring true, event organisers say.
Hiroshima Day was marked on Sunday with a noon rally at Sydney's Hyde Park, where speakers called for world peace and the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
A similar protest was scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Melbourne.
The event is the annual international commemoration of the anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons that instantly killed 90,000 in Hiroshima and injured many more on August 6, 1945.
The US also dropped nuclear bombs on Nagasaki three days later, resulting in the immediate deaths of 40,000 more. By the end of 1945, over 200,000 were dead in the two Japanese cities. At the Sydney rally, anti-nuclear campaigner Helen Caldicott said the commemoration of Hiroshima had never been more important.
"The world is facing greater instability in more and more areas," Dr Caldicott said.
"Regional wars could escalate to a global nuclear holocaust as the US and Russia have so many nuclear weapons primed and ready to go."

Watch the Howard Dean Keynote, Courtesy UStream.tv

If you missed the Howard Dean keynote this evening, or you just want to watch it again you can courtesy of Ustream.tv. Dean had a great keynote and was cheered on by a huge energized crowd in Chicago on the opening night of YearlyKos 2007.

A lesson to all the Bush Believers.

AP Photo / Gerald Herbert
Posted on Jul 31, 2007
Go figure: From the White House comes the news that self-styled anti-terrorism crusader George Bush wants to sell $20 billion in high-tech military equipment to Saudi Arabia, the source of most of the financing, and 15 of the 19 hijackers, for the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. The justification can’t be that this is yet another boondoggle for the military-industrial complex—the big winner in the war on terror—so we are told instead that the Sunni-dominated Saudi kingdom needs this weaponry to withstand a future challenge from those dastardly Shiite fellows in Iran.
Yes, the very same extremists whose surrogates are now, as a consequence of the U.S. invasion, pretending to be the indigenous government of Iraq. Recall that the Shiite militants who rule Tehran, along with the Sunni nuts around Osama bin Laden, were both the sworn enemy of Saddam Hussein. Now both of those forces are the main players, according to the Bush administration, vying for power in “liberated” Iraq, and our president is in the inane position of playing one group of fanatics against the other in the name of securing Iraq as a democratic haven.
White House officials told The New York Times that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates intend to use the occasion of their joint visit to Saudi Arabia “to press the Saudis to do more to help Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government.” Huh? Why in the world would the Sunnis, who control Saudi Arabia and are frightened to their bones of Shiites throughout the Gulf, be party to consolidating Shiite power in Iraq?
To complete the circle of madness, White House officials tell reporters that the hope of the latest arms sale program is that the Saudis will be so thrilled with their new weapons that they will stop funding the Sunni insurgents who are currently killing Americans. The absurdity of this position is that it makes the Saudis the big winners in the war on terror and yet expects them to cut out behavior that has played so effectively to the kingdom’s advantage. The nation which was most directly responsible for spawning the original al-Qaida attacks on the U.S., and which has since helped finance the violence in Iraq, is now being rewarded with a long-sought weapons modernization package. Thus, a new generation of deadly toys finds its way into the volatile Mideast.
Embarrassing facts undermining Bush’s insistence that Iraq is the key battleground in the war on terror are that al-Qaida, which was not allowed a presence in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, is now said by Bush to be behind the insurgency and that half of the foreign suicide bombers have been Saudi nationals. Why would the Saudis now move to stem the flow of terrorists across their border when Bush is rewarding them so handsomely for their past support of terrorism? After all, this administration has never demanded an accounting from the Saudis for the kingdom’s support of the Taliban government when it was coddling Saudi terrorist financer bin Laden. Nor has Bush’s camp ordered any serious examination of just how 15 Saudi “soldiers” were recruited, and provided with legitimate Saudi passports and American visas, to commit the mayhem for which the Iraqi people have been so severely punished.
While the $20-billion weapons package will no doubt be supported vigorously by lobbyists for a defense industry that stands to make a financial killing from the deal, it is expected to meet opposition in Congress, particularly from those who fear the impact of this new weaponry on the security of Israel. No problem—“senior officials” in the White House assured The New York Times that the Saudi arms package would be balanced with a $30.4-billion military aid package for Israel. Then, of course, some large amount of military “aid,” to the tune of $13 billion, will also have to be extended to Egypt to keep the dictator in Cairo on board.
What a deal! The Saudis pony up billions in cash, American taxpayers come up with an amount more than twice as high to keep the Israelis and Egyptians happy, and U.S. war profiteers, Bush’s most reliable core constituency group, make out like bandits. Hey, it’s only money, and the only real cost might be to folks who get caught in the line of fire of those weapons in wars to come for generations.
But not to worry, most of them don’t vote in U.S. elections anyway.

Why the latest good news from Iraq doesn't matter.

Irrelevant Exuberance
By Phillip CarterUpdated Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, at 3:02 PM ET
U.S soldiers in Baghdad
In 1975, Army Col. Harry Summers went to Hanoi as chief of the U.S. delegation's negotiation team for the four-party military talks that followed the collapse of the South Vietnamese government. While there, he spent some time chatting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, an old soldier who had fought against the United States and lived to tell his tale. With a tinge of bitterness about the war's outcome, Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu replied, in a phrase that perfectly captured the American misunderstanding of the Vietnam War, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."
Today, in Iraq, we face a similar conundrum. Our vaunted military has won every battle against insurgents and militias—from the march up to the "thunder runs" that took Baghdad; the assaults on Fallujah to the battles for Sadr City. And yet we still find ourselves stuck in the sands of Mesopotamia. In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, Brookings Institution scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack argue that "[w]e are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms." They go on to describe the myriad ways the surge is succeeding on the security front. But in emphasizing this aspect of current operations, they downplay the more critical questions relating to political progress and the ability of Iraq's national government to actually govern. Security is not an end in itself. It is just one component, albeit an important one, of a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy. Unless it is paired with a successful political strategy that consolidates military gains and translates increased security into support from the Iraqi people, these security improvements will, over time, be irrelevant.

(I guess making irresponsible comments on foreign policy is the private domain of the White House.)

The State Department has had enough!
They see the recent sparring over the issue of whether to nuke or invade Pakistan, or to nuke Saudi Arabia, as irresponsible. (I guess making irresponsible comments on foreign policy is the private domain of the White House.)
The State Department would rather that neither citizens of other nations nor the American people should find out what the future leader of the US proposes to drag us into.

American business IS the problem.

By John R Moffett

Twenty five years later, I'll turn it around for the sake of historical symmetry. American business IS the problem.

Amen to that

It is staggering, and truly disgusting, that even in August, 2007 - almost six years removed from the 9/11 attacks and with the Bush presidency cemented as one of the weakest and most despised in American history - that George W. Bush can "demand" that the Congress jump and re-write legislation at his will, vesting in him still greater surveillance power, by warning
The Dems Disheartening Cave to Bush on FISA
Lies are still trumping truth. Fear is still defeating reason. Political self-protection is still taking precedence over the defense of the Constitution.

The Real Reason The Wingnuts Hate YearlyKos

By Marc McDonald
Once upon a time, it was easy to be a GOP propagandist. But these days, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk have found that everything they say is going to be picked apart, analyzed and fact-checked by the progressive Web. As a result, the GOP serial liars have been exposed for the frauds that they really are.

Katrina floods not covered by insurance: court

Thu Aug 2, 2007 7:44PM EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday
that three major insurers are not responsible for flood damages
in New Orleans -- even if "negligence" caused flooding that
inundated the city during 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
Residents of the area, along with Xavier University, sued
property insurers Allstate Corp, Travelers Cos Inc and mutual
insurer State Farm.
Residential property insurance policies exclude flood coverage,
which is provided under a federal program. But the plaintiffs
said that, because the negligent design, construction and
maintenance of the levees was responsible for the breaks, the
insurers should pay claims on their homes and property.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, ruled
the insurers' contracts were valid. Even if the construction of
the levees was faulty, the resulting floods were excluded from
coverage, the court said.

FLASHBACK: The Secret Behind the Sanctions How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply

No one can say that the United States didn't know what it was doing.
Thomas J. Nagy, The Progressive
Over the last two years, I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway. The primary document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," is dated January 22, 1991. It spells out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens...
continua / continued

Michael Ignatieff yet another neocon sacrificed in the pro-Iraq war propaganda

Truth About Iraqis
I wish I could rejoice in being right. In having said so. But the price paid for my vanity and ego is to the order of some 800,000 dead Iraqis, destroyed infrastructure, et al, etcetera. I wish I had been horribly wrong. But years ago, this was ALL predicted. So when US politicians rose up to answer the call of the valiant crusader Bushco [an entity comprised of Richie Rich white man, Halli (Burton), and the House of SoRude(Saud?)] I anticipated the fall...
continua / continued

Alberto Gonzales and Coup Against Democracy

Ramzy Baroud
...Perhaps Gonzales' unwarranted acts have generated a lot more attention in the last a few months as both Democrats and Republicans are in need of a punching bag, where Bush and Cheney have proved untouchable. Another reason could be that Gonzales' past legal concoctions were justified as part of the administration's 'war on terror': so what if Gonzales had to circumvent national and international law - repeatedly and unabashedly - to 'save American lives'? And circumvent the law Gonzales most certainly did. Starting with the drafting of Executive Order 13233 in November 1, 2001, which restricted the Freedom of Information Act, and thus access to records of former presidents - to his arguments that effectively cancelled Article III of the Geneva Convention, denying suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants held in Camp X-Ray the right to be treated as combatants - to his re-interpretation of the principles of the Geneva Convention that made possible the case for the torture and humiliation of Iraqis and others. Gonzales' role in the Bush administration's war on democracy at home, and his imperial war abroad, is unquestionable. Gonzales is still around precisely because of this role, not inspite of it....

The $63 Billion Sham:

Having destroyed Iraq to save us from horrors that did not exist, Rice now wants to save us from Iran's future nukes by selling American weapons of mass destruction. Over the next decade, the Bush administration wants to give Israel $30 billion in military aid, a nearly 43 percent increase over what that nation received over the last 10 years

Inside a New Antiwar Campaign

Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, says, "Remember President Bush's summer from hell? Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan had camped out in Crawford, Texas, igniting the nascent antiwar movement. Two years later, as Congress heads off on its August recess, antiwar activists are waging their Iraq Summer campaign. The idea: to bird-dog 40 lawmakers, all Republicans, much the way Sheehan did Bush."
Scott Lindlaw and Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press, write: "Just a day after approving a medal claiming former NFL player Pat Tillman had been cut down by 'devastating enemy fire' in Afghanistan, a high-ranking general tried to warn President Bush that the story might not be true."
Allen L Roland:
The Pat Tillman case could bring down the Cheney/Bush Administration for every key top level official, both Pentagon and white House, is involved and they are all apparently lying. Here is the narrative that Rumsfeld and Myers offered last week and let's look at this obvious deception in detail ~ together with the known facts. Then you decide ~ Political election year military execution and cover-up or honest mistakes ??
The Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan reports: "Inside a brightly lit room, the walls adorned with memorials to 23 dead American soldiers, Lt. Colonel Robert Balcavage stared at the three Sunni tribal leaders he wanted to recruit. Their fighters had battled US troops. Balcavage suspected they might have attacked some of his own men. An hour later, he signed up some of America's newest allies."

Mullen told Congress that he thought the United States would be in Iraq for "years not months"

Senate confirms Mullen as new military chief

Spirit of '07

They say a picture speaks a thousand words

Marine's Father Warns Of Possible Cancer Link

The father of a local Marine who died of leukemia has stepped forward after hearing the story of a soldier's fight against cancer. Andy Rounds, a 22-year-old Army soldier from Oregon, may have been exposed to depleted uranium, a substance that gives off low levels of radiation, when a munitions dump exploded on his Iraqi base. He's now fighting off an aggressive form of leukemia. Rounds' treatment is not being covered by the military because he was not diagnosed until after he was out of the Army. When Steve Renner heard of Rounds' story, his heart ached. His son Eric Renner, an Oregon City Marine, died of a similar leukemia after his time in the military....
continua / continued

GI Special 5H2: Deadliest July Yet For US Troops [ August 3, 2007 ]

Thomas F. Barton
July U.S. Combat Deaths In Iraq Hit All Time High: Up Nearly 100% From 2006.Iraqi Deaths Spike Five Months Into US Troop Surge:The number of Iraqi civilians killed in the country’s brutal civil conflict rose by more than a third in July despite a five-month-old surge in US troop levels, government figures showed Wednesday.At least 1,652 civilians were killed in Iraq in July, 33 percent more than in the previous month, according to figures compiled by the Iraqi health, defence and interior ministries and made available to AFP.
continua / continued

Good news from Baghdad at last: the oil law has stalled

Jonathan Steele, The Guardian
Glad tidings from Baghdad at last. The Iraqi parliament has gone into summer recess without passing the oil law that Washington was pressing it to adopt. For the Bush administration this is irritating, since passage of the law was billed as a "benchmark" in its battle to get Congress not to set a timetable for US troop withdrawals. The political hoops through which the government of Nouri al-Maliki has been asked to jump were meant to be a companion piece to the US "surge". Just as General David Petraeus, the current US commander, is due to give his report on military progress next month, George Bush is supposed to tell Congress in mid-September how the Maliki government is moving forward on reform...
continua / continued

Iraq's wealth in the balance

Hussein Abdallah, Al-Ahram Weekly

The US administration considers the ratification of the hydrocarbon law in Iraq as one of the major targets of the US occupation. Therefore, it has been pressing Iraq's government to pass the law, ostensibly as part of efforts to promote "reconciliation" among the country's religious and ethnic groups. Moreover, since oil provides 95 per cent of Iraq's national income, the recovery of the country's oil sector would reduce the US economic and military burden in Iraq. Recent US government reports, however, show that much-awaited approval of this law designed to govern the granting of exploration rights to foreign companies would be just the beginning in addressing the Iraq oil problem... continua / continued

More Newspapers Call For Iraq Troop Withdrawal

HuffingtonPost.com Max Follmer August 3, 2007 09:58 PM
A growing number of newspapers across the country are calling for the Bush Administration to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
Among them are newspapers from red states, including several (such as the Roanoke Times in Virginia and The Olympian in Washington state) that circulate in areas with large concentrations of military families.
Perhaps the most surprising paper to join the chorus calling for a troop withdrawal is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. In a July...

They did it again, Unfrikingbelievable they have absolutely no balls at all

Associated Press LARA JAKES JORDAN August 3, 2007 10:50 PM
In a high-stakes showdown over national security, the Senate voted late Friday to temporarily give President Bush expanded authority to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists without court warrants.
The House, meanwhile, rejected a Democratic version of the bill.
Democrats who voted yes to extend warrantless wiretaping etc (at this point, unconfirmed: the vote is not yet in the official Senate website)
Many are the usual suspects; others are more disappointing.

01 Lincoln (D) Yes.
02 Pryor (D) Yes

03 Feinstein (D) Yes
04 Salazar (D) Yes.
05 Carper (D) Yes.
06 Nelson (D) Yes.
07 Inouye (D) Yes.
08 Bayh (D) Yes.
09 Landrieu (D) Yes.
10 Mikulski (D) Yes.
11 Klobuchar (D) Yes.
12 McCaskill (D) Yes.
13 Nelson (D) Yes.
North Dakota
14 Conrad (D)
15 Casey (D) Yes.
16 Webb (D) Yes.
That vote sucks Webb

Friday, August 03, 2007

Not boasting now, that they got away with murder hmmmm?

Marine who led murder of Iraqi gets 15 yrs prison
CAMP PENDLETON, California (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine squad leader who boasted to his men they had "got away with murder" after kidnapping and killing an Iraqi grandfather was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison.
A military jury at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base issued the sentence, along with a reprimand and dishonorable discharge, after finding Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III guilty of unpremeditated murder, larceny and other crimes on Thursday.
His wife and mother sobbed after hearing the sentence. Hutchins, wearing a khaki short-sleeve shirt and dark green trousers, showed no emotion, although at one point he lowered his head to the table.
His 2-year-old daughter was also in the courtroom. Hutchins, 23, was allowed to spend some time with his family before guards took him to a military brig.

UK police chief beats rap on killing

Source: The Age
BRITISH police have been criticised over the killing of an innocent Brazilian man following the 2005 London bombings, but the head of Scotland Yard himself escaped censure and denied he had lied.
The long-awaited report found "serious weaknesses" in police management and, in particular, said a top officer misled his boss and the public in the hours after Jean Charles de Menezes died on July 22, 2005. The Brazilian electrician's family immediately criticised the report, saying they could not believe that Metropolitan Police head Sir Ian Blair did not know about the mistake until the next day.
"The police have been allowed to get away with murder," said Patricia da Silva, a cousin of the dead man. "This is a huge injustice and very shameful … we are very dissatisfied with those findings, very disappointed."
Mr de Menezes was shot in the head at point-blank range at a London Underground train station by police, the day after an attempt to launch further suicide bombings following attacks that killed 52 people earlier that month.
Police, who shot Mr de Menezes after following him on to a train at Stockwell station, said at the time they suspected he was a suicide bomber with an explosive belt around his waist. The killing took place amid a huge manhunt for four men who, the day before, had attempted but failed to blow themselves up on three London Underground trains.

Court rules FBI violated Constitution in Jefferson raid

Source: Times Picayune, New Orleans
WASHINGTON -- The FBI violated the Constitution when agents raided U.S. Rep. William Jefferson's office last year and viewed legislative documents, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
"The review of the Congressman's paper files when the search was executed exposed legislative material to the Executive," and violated the Constitution, the court wrote. "The Congressman is entitled to the return of documents that the court determines to be privileged."
Conservative groups Judicial Watch and the Washington Legal Foundation were joined by the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in supporting the legality of the raid.

The calamity of disregard (British warned Tenet about invading Iraq)

General Tony Zinni called it the wrong war, fought in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
It is now chillingly clear: MI6's pre-Iraq warnings were swept aside by an obsessed White House
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Now comes fresh evidence that senior British officials tried to persuade the Bush administration to keep off Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan, the real source of terrorist violence inspired by al-Qaida. On the Brink, the newly published memoirs of Tyler Drumheller - the CIA's chief of clandestine operations in Europe until 2005 - tells of a meeting on September 12 2001. The day after al-Qaida's attacks on America, George Tenet, then CIA director, met three British guests - Sir David Manning, then Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser; Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6; and Eliza Manningham-Buller, then head of MI5. "I hope we can all agree that we should concentrate on Afghanistan and not be tempted to launch any attacks on Iraq," Drumheller quotes the leader of the British delegation as telling Tenet.
Powers says the appeal not to attack Iraq came from Manning. Drumheller does not dispute that. In his book he says Tenet responded to Manning by saying: "Absolutely, we all agree on that. Some might want to link the issues, but none of us wants to go that route."
A few days later, a group of diplomats and MI6 officers met their American counterparts at a lunch at the British embassy in Washington. Again MI6 expressed concern that the Bush administration had Iraq in its sights. A senior official (Drumheller, obeying instructions, does not identify the official or his nationality) went further, inquiring what the CIA was going to do once the US had "hit the mercury with the hammer in Afghanistan and the al-Qaida cadre has spread all over the world". The official asked: "Aren't you concerned about the potential destabilising effect on Middle Eastern countries?"

Armed Robots Join the Battle in Iraq

Army Quietly Testing First Three SWORDS in the Combat Zone

The summer of 2007 may become zero hour for the era of post-modern warfighting, as the US Army has finally introduced armed robots to the battle. The insurgency should not fear invading legions of Terminators, but the "special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system" (SWORDS) will enable machine to go where man would surely die.
The 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade was given the opportunity for the first test runs in the field, and three units arrived in Iraq in April, according to National Defense magazine.
SWORDS is designed to take on “high risk combat missions,” according to an Army statement. The robot can draw and respond to fire before a soldier even enters a risky situation, acting as a force multiplier on the battlefield.
The SWORDS reportedly haven't fired their weapons yet, but the program manager reports the response has been so positive that the Army would like to order 80 more if their appropriations budget permits. So far, he reports, the first three units have been out on recon missions and on street patrol.

First Armed Robots on Patrol in Iraq (Updated)
Robots have been roaming the streets of Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time -- the first time in any warzone -- the machines are carrying guns. After years of development, three "special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system" (SWORDS) robots have deployed to Iraq, armed with M249 machine guns. The 'bots "haven't fired their weapons yet," Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, tells DANGER ROOM. "But that'll be happening soon"...

At U.S. base, Iraqis must use separate latrine

By Mike Drummond McClatchy Newspapers Posted on Fri, August 3, 2007
A segregated latrine in Iraq.
(Mike Drummond/MCT)

FOB WARHORSE, Iraq — The sign taped to the men's latrine is just five lines:
It needed only one: "NO IRAQIS."

Here at this searing, dusty U.S. military base about four miles west of Baqouba, Iraqis — including interpreters who walk the same foot patrols and sleep in the same tents as U.S. troops — must use segregated bathrooms.
Another sign, in a dining hall, warns Iraqis and "third-country nationals" that they have just one hour for breakfast, lunch or dinner. American troops get three hours. Iraqis say they sometimes wait as long as 45 minutes in hot lines to get inside the chow hall, leaving just 15 minutes to get their food and eat it.
It's been nearly 60 years since President Harry Truman ended racial segregation in the U.S. military. But at Forward Operating Base Warhorse it's alive and well, perhaps the only U.S. military facility with such rules, Iraqi interpreters here say. LinkHere

Bernie Sanders and anonymous senator place hold on Nussle

Senators block Nussle's confirmation vote
August 2, 2007
Washington, D.C. — Former Rep. Jim Nussle’s nomination to be White House budget director has run into trouble in the Senate.
The Senate Budget Committee voted 22-1 today to approve the Iowa Republican’s nomination, but at least two senators had placed holds on the nomination, blocking the full Senate from taking a final vote.
Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who cast the lone vote against Nussle in the budget committee, said President Bush was “way out of touch with reality” in thinking the economy is good and needed a budget director who will tell him otherwise.
Sanders said he “would love to hear from Mr. Nussle and the White House that instead of simply paying attention to the needs of the wealthiest people in this country that they are serious about addressing the concerns of the middle class and working families.”
Link to video of Bernie grilling Nussle in Senate hearing

Maliki out on his feet

Sami Moubayed, Asia Times
Leaders worry about how history will label them. Adolf Hitler once said he wanted nothing to be written on his tombstone - the name would explain itself. Hitler might have thought he would be remembered as a great leader who brought pride and justice to Germany. Most recall him as a failed military leader who destroyed Europe. Similarly, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki - whose days in office are surely numbered - might want to to be remembered as the man who brought democracy and justice to Iraqis; the man who rooted out terrorism and killed al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Instead, Iraqis will remember Maliki as a selfish, sectarian politician who divided the country as never before, between Shi'ites and Sunnis. They will remember the death squads that flourished under his regime, the targeted assassinations of Sunni notables, and they will see him as a stooge of the Americans who was unable to fulfill any of the promises he made when coming to power in May 2006...
continua / continued

Bush Overruled Own Spy Chief To Nix Deal With Dems »

Talking Points Memo August 3, 2007 05:58 PM
There's only one problem with Bush's statement: it isn't true.
A key Democrat in the negotiations, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), says that a deal had in fact been reached with McConnell, who has been busy lobbying Congress on a FISA update all week. "We had an agreement with DNI McConnell," Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards tells TPMmuckraker, "and then the White House quashed the agreement."

Weakened Iraq PM Defers To Bush: No Timetable For Withdrawal

ABC News Terry McCarthy August 3, 2007 03:40 PM
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told ABC News he does not want to set any timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, a major shift in his position.
"Anything specific I can not give, neither us nor the U.S. government can set up a timetable," Maliki said.

The Choose Life argument doesn't wash when the same moral high ground is used to deny it.

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which two doctors refused a woman IVF treatment because she's a lesbian. From the MoJo Blog
Maliki and his advisers are already mistrustful of new U.S. alliances with Sunni insurgents and tribal leaders who have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Where the Bush administration sees a success story, Maliki and other Shiites worry that the United States is empowering groups still determined to overthrow their government.
It does make you wonder... If we arm, equip, and train Sunni tribesmen to fight al Qaeda and organize Sunni "neighborhood watches" to help protect them against Shiite death squads, it might earn us their short-term appreciation and deter them from attacking U.S. troops. Then again, it might fuel the civil war that many people believe will follow our departure from Iraq. This is surely not lost on American planners. General Petraeus recognized the risk, telling a reporter: "You have to make sure that the neighborhood watch doesn't end up watching someone else's neighborhood." Good luck.
Divisions among Shiites pale in comparison to the chasm that has developed between them and the Sunnis. From the MoJo Blog

The Highwaymen

News: Why you could soon be paying Wall Street investors, Australian bankers, and Spanish builders for the privilege of driving on American roads.

By Daniel Schulman with James Ridgeway
January/February 2007 Issue
"The road is one succession of dust, ruts, pits, and holes." So wrote Dwight D. Eisenhower, then a young lieutenant colonel, in November 1919, after heading out on a cross-country trip with a convoy of Army vehicles in order to test the viability of the nation's highways in case of a military emergency. To this description of one major road across the west, Eisenhower added reports of impassable mud, unstable sand, and wooden bridges that cracked beneath the weight of the trucks. In Illinois, the convoy "started on dirt roads, and practically no more pavement was encountered until reaching California."
It took 62 days for the trucks to make the trip from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, and another 37 years for Ike to complete a quest, inspired by this youthful journey and by his World War II observations of Germany's autobahns, to build a national road system for the United States. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which called for the federal and state governments to build 41,000 miles of high-quality roads across the nation, over rivers and gorges, swamps and deserts, over and through vast mountain ranges, in what would later be called the "greatest public works project in human history." So vital to the public interest did Eisenhower, an old-style fiscal conservative, consider the interstate highway system, he even authorized the federal government to assume 90 percent of the massive cost.
Fifty years to the day after Ike put his pen to the Highway Act, another Republican signed off on another historic highway project. On June 29, 2006, Mitch Daniels, the former Bush administration official turned governor of Indiana, was greeted with a round of applause as he stepped into a conference room packed with reporters and state lawmakers. The last of eight wire transfers had landed in the state's account, making it official: Indiana had received $3.8 billion from a foreign consortium made up of the Spanish construction firm Cintra and the Macquarie Infrastructure Group (mig) of Australia, and in exchange the state would hand over operation of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road for the next 75 years. The arrangement would yield hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for the consortium, which also received immunity from most local and state taxes in its contract with Indiana. And, of course, the consortium would collect all the tolls, which it was allowed to raise to levels far beyond what Hoosiers had been used to. By one calculation, the Toll Road would generate more than $11 billion over the 75-year life of the contract, a nice return on mig-Cintra's $3.8 billion investment.
The deal to privatize the Toll Road had been almost a year in the making. Proponents celebrated it as a no-pain, all-gain way to off-load maintenance expenses and mobilize new highway-building funds without raising taxes. Opponents lambasted it as a major turn toward handing the nation's common property over to private firms, and at fire-sale prices to boot.
Link Here

Bridge Collapse: Whose Roads Are They Anyway?

There are only three ways of dealing with roads, bridges, and public transit (remember transit?): Decide, as a society, that we need them and will pay for them; let them fall apart; or turn them over to the private sector. From the MoJo Blog

Minneapolis Residents Look for Answers

I used to cross the Minneapolis bridge every week and never once gave the safety of the bridge a second thought. From the MoJo Blog

Hugo Chavez Why so much hatred?

In the face of such successes, not to mention those obtained in the arena of international politics, should we be surprised that, for the masters of the world and their vassals, President Chávez has become a man to destroy?

Le Monde diplomatique's Ignacio Ramonet examines the reasons behind the ferocity and the multiplicity of the hate campaigns directed against Venezuela's president.

Without proof, military targets man assumed to be gay

Lack of Don't Ask Don't Tell evidence doesn't stop prosecution.
A decorated soldier with an exemplary service record may have been targeted for dismissal by his Army superiors because they think that he is gay.

by Julie A. Weisberg
After enduring months of homophobic harassment and slurs, a decorated soldier with an exemplary service record may have been targeted for dismissal by his Army superiors because they think that he is gay. PFC Christopher Mastromarino, pictured, a military policeman and member of the Army's prestigious Old Guard -- a regiment that serves as an honor guard at White House functions, services at Arlington Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as security at private functions for top Pentagon officials in Washington, D.C. -- was court-martialed in May after indecent assault charges were filed against him in February.
The charges alleged that Mastromarino sexually harassed other male soldiers in his unit with unwanted touching and verbal comments. He was ultimately convicted of three counts of simple assault. The military court's ruling, however, has yet to be approved by the regiment's commanding general, and Mastromarino has appealed the decision.
But the Maryland native told PageOneQ during a recent interview that he is innocent of the charges. And that the prosecution's case was filled with conflicting testimony, here-say and rumors, and a questionable timeline.
In addition, according to sworn testimony during the trial, two prosecution witnesses said that they did not consider the physical contact between themselves and Mastromarino to be an assault, although the command chose to bring those charges forward against him.
"You are supposed to have some kind of credible evidence," Mastromarino said. "That leads me to believe that they were on some kind of agenda." After requesting interviews with Mastromarino's regimental commander, as well as his equal opportunity officer, PageOneQ was told by The Old Guard's public affairs office that Army officials cannot comment on "a pending case." Lack of Don't Ask Don't Tell evidence doesn't stop prosecution.

After all, he was just an innocent Iraqi Citizen, Justice in Georgies America, but can you imagine if it was an American Citizen? You Decide

Shame on you America. Murder is Murder, anywhere in the world, and JUSTICE needs to be served
Marine guilty in killing Iraq civilian sentenced to 448 days in prison
A Marine corporal convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other charges in the shooting death of an Iraqi civilian was sentenced Friday to a reduction in rank and the 448 days in prison he has already served.
Corporal Marshall Magincalda had faced a maximum term of life in prison after his conviction for his role in the abduction and shooting death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad on April 26, 2006 near Hamdania, south of Baghdad.
Along with conspiracy, Magincalda was convicted of larceny and housebreaking, but a military jury acquitted him earlier this week of the more serious charges of premeditated murder and kidnapping.
Prosecutors alleged Awad was dragged from his home and killed after failing to capture a suspected Iraqi insurgent in Hamdania. A stolen shovel and AK-47 rifle were placed by the victim's body to make it look as if he had been digging a hole to plant a roadside bomb.
The alleged mastermind of Awad's death, Marine Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins, 23, on Thursday was found guilty of unpremeditated murder and conspiracy to murder in a separate court martial proceeding. He now awaits sentencing.

The Dark Magic of Republican Obstructionism

No progress in Congress, No progress in Congress.
Caught on Tape! - The Plot to Bury Progress
For the past seven months, the Democratic majority in Congress has been overshadowed by a mysterious force. In spite of overwhelming support from the American people and the hard work of Democrats, legislative priorities have stalled time after time.
Today, the Campaign for America's Future revealed evil force behind this obstructionism. See it right here, right now. You're among the first to learn the secret.....
In case you missed it, here is this morning's post with a little more information on Republican Obstructionism.
DOJ Ignored Protests Of "Disturbed" GOP Sen Kyl In Arizona Fed Prosecutor Firing
AZcentral.com Mike Madden August 3, 2007 11:22 AM
Documents released Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee show that Sen. Jon Kyl, a Republican, was upset with Bush administration officials who forced Arizona's top federal prosecutor to resign late last year.
The committee is investigating why the administration pushed out former Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton and eight others last year. The Justice Department has been slowly but steadily releasing e-mails to the committee, which has made them public.

Ohhhhhh Lordy, Lordy, now that deserves the medal of bravery

Clucky ... an Arkansas couple had a baby daughter on Thursday - their 17th child and seventh girl - and the pair say even after 90,000 nappies and 126 months of pregnancy, they're still not ready to stop / AP


Truth About Tillman ... Murder's Not 'Friendly Fire'
Once again, the Administration is pulling the old magician's trick of misdirection, this time in the Pat Tillman case. And once again, the press is falling for it. Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers focused on "what they knew and when" -- to borrow the Watergate phrase -- rather than the core issue at the heart of the Pat Tillman matter, which is this:
Pat Tillman was almost certainly murdered, and fratricide is not "friendly fire."
Yet a Google News search on the terms "Tillman" and "friendly fire" yielded 1,044 hits today, all from the last 24 hours. That's after the facts behind the fratricide are widely known - and after a number of clues that suggest the entire command structure, from the White House on down, concealed a murder from the public and took no steps to investigate it.
There's your story.
Friendly fire is commonly understood to mean the accidental death of a U. S. soldier through weapons fired by U.S. or allied troops. (See this definition.) The facts in the Tillman case make friendly fire highly unlikely. He died from three bullet holes grouped together in his forehead, fired from a M-16 that was no more than ten yards away.
Three bullet holes. In the forehead. From a M-16. That was ten yards away.
That's not "friendly fire." That's murder. (Unless Cpl. Tillman stood up in the path of another soldier's fire, took three hits precisely in the forehead, then fell before being hit again.)
As abhorrent as it was for the Administration to delay telling the family, the handling of the fratricide question was even worse. A killer's trail went cold. Now we may never know the truth. As for the narrative that Rumsfeld and Myers offered yesterday, let's look at it in detail - together with the known facts:
1. Pat Tillman dies. Medical examiners request a fratricide investigation sometime thereafter. Their request is denied.

Déjà Vu

A tsunami of déjà vu washed over me recently as administration officials and advocates argued that good things are happening in Iraq while they pressed for more time for success to play out. Haven't we heard since the Iraq War turned badly in late 2003 that the seeds of success were just beginning to sprout, that the military was now moving to the right counterinsurgency strategy, that Iraqi security forces were finally taking the lead, and that a political solution was within sight? And in the last go-round, weren't we promised that another increment of force would solve Iraq's woes and lead to political reconciliation? I feel like we have turned so many corners that we are back where we started.
I served as a Marine rifle company commander in Vietnam, and today's Iraq debate takes me back there. It sadly reminds me of the "light at the end of the tunnel" syndrome that affected policy makers and senior military seeking to defend their policies and argue for more troops and time. Bright, well-intentioned people can believe that they can rescue a failing strategy with a policy shift here and a tactical redirection there, but at some point someone has to ask whether the strategy is, in fact, retrievable. Someone has to be prepared to say "enough."

Judge Backs CIA in Suit on Plame Memoir

Absolute Hypocracy, Georgie and his gang of thugs, out a CIA AGENT, and the company she works for, for political reasons, Pappi Bush claims a treasonable act, and a federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday that she was not allowed to say how long she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in the memoir.
Adam Liptak reports for The New York Times, "Valerie Wilson may be the best known former intelligence operative in recent history, but a federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday that she was not allowed to say how long she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in the memoir she plans to publish this fall."

Law or Lawlesness

Truthout's Executive Director Marc Ash writes: "Mounting a serious legal challenge to the executive branch is a daunting task for Congress under any circumstances. However, as the breadth and scope of this White House's transgressions are totally unprecedented, so too is the challenge Congress faces. Never in its history has America been confronted with an executive branch so determined to break every law designed to regulate its conduct."

As Iraq Costs Soar, Contractors Earn Record Profits

Eli Clifton, IPS
In a report to lawmakers earlier this week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the war in Iraq could cost U.S. taxpayers over a trillion dollars when the long-term costs of caring for soldiers wounded in action, military and economic aid for the Iraqi government, and ongoing costs associated with the 190,000 troops stationed in Iraq are totaled up. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels' 2003 estimate that the war in Iraq could cost 50-60 billion dollars stands in stark contrast to the 500 billion dollars already allocated to the conflict in Iraq and reconstruction projects..
continua / continued

From Sadr city with "Love"...

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues - Reflections in a sealed bottle...
...Some of you who follow my blog on a regular basis, know of Kamel's story.I mentioned in my post "Fresh from the Iraqi oven", that Kamel is held in an American prison supervised and guarded by sectarian shia militias, on charges of "insurgency". I also mentioned that they demanded extortion money in exchange for his release and their signing a piece of paper saying he is not an insurgent- which is the truth. We finally managed to collect the requested sum of 2 Million Dinars. The money was paid and we got double crossed. They took the money and did not release Kamel. Only God knows what is happening to him right now. Money is not the only thing they extort from us. Sex read rape is another.I read a story today on IRIN and am reprinting in its entirety. Such kind of story is not uncommon at all. You hear them daily...in free Baghdad. So here it is. Mother of three Um Muhammad al-Daraj, 35, recently went through a traumatic ordeal to try to save her husband’s life. She told IRIN her husband was kidnapped by militants who had accused him of supporting the insurgents. (...) "After half an hour’s drive we reached [predominantly Shia] Sadr City and my legs were trembling because I know how dangerous the area is and the guys with me didn’t speak a word. "They asked me to enter a disgusting-looking house and told me to wait. A rude man came into the room and bluntly told me that I had two choices: have sex with him and get my husband released or return to my home and never see Ahmed again....

Democrats Scrambling to Expand Eavesdropping

Under pressure from President Bush, Democratic leaders in Congress are scrambling to pass legislation this week to expand the government's electronic wiretapping powers
Carol D. Leonnig and Ellen Nakashima report for The Washington Post: "A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by Congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

In Freedom's Name

By Monica Benderman
Freedom does not rely on young men and women signing their lives away for an enlistment bonus serving as nothing more than a glittery facade to keep innocents from knowing they're about to become slaves.
Let me tell you something about freedom.
Freedom does not rely on history.
Freedom does not rely on endless lectures on where our culture has been and where it is going.

Freedom does not rely on young men and women signing their lives away for an enlistment bonus serving as nothing more than a glittery facade to keep innocents from knowing they’re about to become slaves.
Freedom does not rely on wars being fought on foreign soil so we don’t have to face our enemies at home.
Freedom does not rely on the work of past generations, so that this generation can remain idle in their responsibility, consumed by achieving the pretense of success.
Freedom does not rely on others fighting our battles while we profess moral support for their actions from living rooms and computer monitors where our words are posted using pseudonyms so our government cannot track our actions.

Petition to Congress. Thats more killed than in the Rwandan genocide and far more than were killed under Saddam.

It's call Georgies Liberation of the citizens of Iraq
Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator
As of July 2006, a scientific study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that 650,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the U.S.-led invasion. Unfortunately, the death toll has continued to mount since then.It is likely that about one million Iraqis have been killed, according to an updated estimate from the organization Just Foreign Policy. That's more than were killed in the Rwandan genocide and far more than were killed under Saddam.You can find more information, a frequently updated counter of Iraqi deaths, and a petition to Congress urging them to end this war here:

Now I declare who the hell would want to speak to Joe GOP Lieberman, except maybe Georgie, Dick, Condalisa, and ORielly

Sen Dodd Confronts Bill O'Reilly About Smearing YearlyKos Convention
O'Reilly, If I were Joseph Lieberman, I would never talk to you again."

Now that is an understatement

Gates On Iraq: "We Probably All Underestimated...HowDifficult It Would Be"
NY Times David S. Cloud August 2, 2007 10:41 PM
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he was discouraged by the resignation of the Sunnis from Iraq's cabinet and that the Bush administration might have misjudged the difficulty of achieving reconciliation between Iraq's sectarian factions.
In one of his bluntest assessments of the progress of the administration's Iraq strategy, Mr. Gates said, "I think the developments on the political side are somewhat discouraging at the national level." He said that despite the Sunni withdrawal, "my...
Keith Roberts Uppity Wisconsin
In June of 1999, Airman Keith Roberts (1968-71) was granted a disability rating .... Listen to this story now using RealPlayer from Wisconsin Public Radio - ...
Thursday, August 2, 2007; 8:57 AM
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management
Agency has stopped donating and selling disaster trailers
while it studies reports that people living in them after
hurricanes Katrina and Rita got sick from formaldehyde
Federal health scientists are in Louisiana and Mississippi
investigating the safety of the travel trailers being used
by hurricane victims, FEMA officials said. The scientists
have been asked to identify an acceptable air quality
level for formaldehyde, which is commonly used in
building materials but can cause respiratory problems in
high doses or with prolonged exposure.
Congressional leaders were outraged after documents
revealed that FEMA lawyers had discouraged the agency
from investigating reports that some trailers had high
levels of formaldehyde.
FEMA said in a statement Wednesday that "out of an
abundance of caution," it is temporarily suspending
further deployment of the travel trailers in its inventory
pending the results of the formaldehyde studies, which
will take into account relative humidity, the trailers'
design and how long they are lived in.


by Hendrik Hertzberg August 6, 200At first glance, next year’s Presidential election looks like a blowout. But it might not be. Luckily for the incumbent party, neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney will be running; indeed, the election of 2008 will be the first since 1952 without a sitting President or Vice-President on the ballot. At the moment, survey research reflects a generic public preference for a Democratic victory next year. Still, despite everything, there are nearly as many polls showing particular Republicans beating particular Democrats as vice versa. So this election could be another close one. If it is, the winner may turn out to have been chosen not on November 4, 2008, but five months earlier, on June 3rd.
Two weeks ago, one of the most important Republican lawyers in Sacramento quietly filed a ballot initiative that would end the practice of granting all fifty-five of California’s electoral votes to the statewide winner. Instead, it would award two of them to the statewide winner and the rest, one by one, to the winner in each congressional district. Nineteen of the fifty-three districts are represented by Republicans, but Bush carried twenty-two districts in 2004. The bottom line is that the initiative, if passed, would spot the Republican ticket something in the neighborhood of twenty electoral votes—votes that it wouldn’t get under the rules prevailing in every other sizable state in the Union.
The Tuesday after the first Monday in June is California’s traditional Primary Day. But it’s not the one that everybody will be paying attention to. Five months ago, the legislature hastily moved the Presidential part up to February 5th, joining a stampede of states hoping to claim a piece of the early-state action previously reserved for Iowa and New Hampshire. June 3rd will be an altogether sleepier, low-turnout affair. There may be a few scattered contests for legislative nominations, but the only statewide items on the ballot will be initiatives. More than two dozen have been filed so far, ranging from a proposal to start a state-run Internet poker site to pay for filling potholes to a redundant slew of anti-gay-marriage measures. Few will make it to the ballot. Many are not even intended to; they’re a feint in some byzantine negotiation, or just a cheap attempt to get a little attention—for a two-hundred-dollar fee, anyone can file one. (Actually getting one on the ballot requires more than four hundred thousand signatures, and the outfits that collect them usually charge a dollar or two per signature.) Initiative No. 07-0032—the Presidential Election Reform Act—is different. It’s serious. Its backers have access to serious money. And it could pass.

News Corp. donated $2.5 mln to (Dow Jones) committee member

Source: Reuters
Dow Jones & Co. Inc. said on Thursday it did not know that one of the people named to protect its editorial independence after it becomes part of News Corp. runs a foundation that received $2.5 million in funding from Rupert Murdoch's global media conglomerate.
News Corp. selected Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Nicholas Negroponte to be part of the five-member special committee that will oversee the editorial independence of Dow Jones's news operations. The move was part of its $5.6 billion deal to buy the publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
... News Corp.'s donation now raises issues over Negroponte's objectivity, a journalism expert said.
"If in fact Nicholas' foundation is receiving money from News Corp., that creates the perception and, quite possibly, the reality of a conflict," said Louis Ureneck, chairman of the journalism department at Boston University.
... Asked if News Corp. saw any conflicts of interest in Negroponte's appointment, the company said no and defended his integrity.

Water taps run dry in Baghdad

AP Photo: Muhammad Abdul Hussein, 35, drinks water from a tanker in the Karradah neighborhood of Baghdad,...
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer 53 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer.
Residents and city officials said large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations.
Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but this one is described by residents as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory. The problem highlights the larger difficulties in a capital beset by violence, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime and too little electricity to keep cool in the sweltering weather more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion.
Jamil Hussein, a 52-year-old retired army officer who lives in northeast Baghdad, said his house has been without water for two weeks, except for two hours at night. He says the water that does flow smells and is unclean........

Top Bush Aides To Be Questioned Over Tillman Spin

AP ERICA WERNER August 2, 2007 04:59 PM
The White House has agreed to let congressional investigators interview three former officials in an inquiry into what the administration knew about the friendly-fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
The aides are Dan Bartlett, former White House counselor; Scott McClellan, former press secretary, and Michael Gerson, former speechwriter. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee agreed to White House demands that initial interviews be conducted without a transcript and with White House attorneys present.
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