Saturday, January 19, 2008

U.S. Bombings in Iraq Increased Fivefold in 2007

The following report updates my blog entry of January 11, 2008 on this topic. According to news headlines from DemocracyNow:

U.S. Bombings in Iraq Increased Fivefold in 2007

New figures from the Pentagon show the U.S. carried out fives times as many aerial bombings in Iraq last year as it did in 2006. According to the Washington Post, U.S. forces dropped more than 1,400 bombs—an average of nearly four a day. The 2006 total was 229 bombs, an average of four per week. The UN estimates at least two hundred civilians were killed in U.S. bombings from April until the end of the year. The figures come as the U.S. continues an extensive bombing campaign over Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. In one of the largest strikes since the 2003 invasion, U.S. warplanes dropped 40,000 pounds of bombs in a ten-minute span one week ago. Military experts are predicting an increase in the bombing, should the U.S. draw down its forces in Iraq. Airstrikes are also at record levels in Afghanistan. NATO bombings topped 3,500 last year, doubling the number for 2006.


DemocracyNow Headlines, January 17, 2006.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

What's Next? Redux

Why we are in Iraq. Why Democrats and Republicans are not listening to us.

Peak Oil could trigger meltdown of society
By: Energy Watch Group
Published: Oct 23, 2007
According to a newly published global oil supply report to be presented by the Energy Watch Group at the Foreign Press Association in London, world oil production peaked in 2006. Production will start to decline at a rate of several percent per year. By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame.

"The most alarming finding is the steep decline of the oil supply after peak", warns Jörg Schindler from the Energy Watch Group. This result, together with the timing of the peak, is obviously in sharp contrast to the projections by the International Energy Agency (IEA). "Since crude oil is the most important energy carrier at a global scale and since all kinds of transport rely heavily on oil, the future oil availability is of paramount importance as it entails completely different actions by politics, business and individuals.", says Schindler.

This cautious energy outlook corresponds with statements made by former US Defense Secretary and CIA Director, James Schlesinger, who said at a recent oil summit in Cork: "The battle is over, the oil peakists have won. Current US energy policy and the administration's oil strategy in Iraq and Iran are deluded."

However, until recently the International Energy Agency denied that a fundamental change of energy supply is likely to happen in the near or medium term future. Hans-Josef Fell MP, a prominent member of the German Parliament, is clear: "The message by the IEA, namely that business as usual will also be possible in future, sends a diffusing signal to the markets and blocks investments in already available renewable energy technologies.

Remaining world oil reserves are estimated to be 1,255 Gb (Giga barrel) according to the industry database HIS (2006). For the Energy Watch Group (EWG), however, there are sound reasons to modify these figures for some regions and key countries, leading to a corresponding EWG estimate of 854 Gb. This oil supply outlook does not rely primarily on reserve data which in the past have frequently turned out to be unreliable. Hence the EWG analysis is based primarily on production data which can be observed more easily and which are more reliable.

Peak oil is now. "The oil boom is over and will not return. All of us must get used to a different lifestyle.", said King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the largest global oil producer. For quite some time, a hot debate has been going on regarding peak oil. Institutions close to the energy industry, like CERA, are engaging in a campaign trying to debunk peak oil as a "theory". However, the EWG report shows that peak oil is real. The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by a sharp decline of fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of daily life. Climate change will also force mankind to change energy consumption patterns by significantly reducing the burning of fossil fuels.

Anticipated supply shortages could easily lead to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public just muddling through is not an option anymore as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a meltdown of society.

"My experience of debating the peak oil issue with the oil industry, and trying to alert Whitehall to it, is that there is a culture of institutionalised denial in government and the energy industry. As the evidence of an early peak in production unfolds, this becomes increasingly impossible to understand", says Jeremy Leggett, the Solarcentury CEO and former member of the British Government's Renewables Advisory Board.
This should give a clear picture of the reasons for the attempts at domination of the Middle East.

From the EWG Oil Report Executive Summary...

Figure 2: World oil reserves (EWG assessment)

Further information:

The Energy Watch Group was founded on joint initiative by Hans-Josef Fell MP, international parliamentarians and scientists. It is supported by the Ludwig-Bölkow-Foundation and produces reports on fossil and nuclear energy resources, scenarios for regenerative energy and also strategies for a long-term secure energy supply. The focus lies thereby on the analysis of economical and technological implications. Results of these studies are to be presented not only to expert audiences but also to the wider interested public.

There's more: "What's Next? Redux" >>

Opium poppies cropping up across Iraq

Well! Here is some good news for the "free markets solve everything!" crowd!

Iraqi farmers, desperate to make ends meet while simultaneously facing escalating fuel and fertilizer costs, as well as cheap imported fruits and vegetables, have taken to growing opium poppies. Poppy cultivation is spreading rapidly all across Iraq, but is especially prevalent in Diyala province, where local police and security forces are so preoccupied with the ethnic conflicts among the residents of the region, as well as a tenacious insurgency that brings the war and it's associated chaos home - suffice it to say that the drug trade is low on their list of priorities.

Put one more hashmark in the "Law of Unintended Consequences" column, I guess.

The shift to opium cultivation by Iraqis is a very recent development. The first fields, underwritten by Afghani smugglers who supplied the lucrative markets in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, were discovered less than a year ago near Diwaniya in the south, but the practice has now spread to the lush orchards of Diyala, north of Baghdad. A local agricultural engineer identified as M S al-Azawi said that the local farmers received no government support, and turned to opium production as an effort to offset high production costs and low sale prices.

[Keep reading]

Once harvested, the opium is taken to Ramadi in the west for exporting and processing - unlike Afghanistan, Iraq does not seem to have heroin laboratories established, so the raw materials must be moved out of the country for processing. Iraq has never been a major drugs consumer, but it has been an important part of the supply line. Heroin from Afghanistan crosses Iran, enters Iraq and finds it's way to Basra, which serves as the distribution hub for the lucrative playground states of the Gulf. Under Hussein, it is widely assumed that state security officers controlled the smuggling.

The proliferation of the crop across the country will be nearly impossible to stop, with so much of the country controlled by militias and criminal gangs. Much of the so-called "success" the Bush administration keeps desperately pointing to is due to a 70,000-member Sunni Arab militia - comprised of a large number of former insurgents with links to protection rackets and organized crime - that has been encouraged, armed and financed by the tax dollars of Americans.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the powerful Shia militia Jaish al Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army, claims that such criminal elements have infiltrated its ranks.

Local warlords, both Sunni and Shia, taking up opium cultivation is a menacing development in a country where local political leaders are frequently allied with gangsters.

Of course, there is one workable, win-win strategy that would provide a market to the farmers, cut the drug gangs (who are the only ones getting rich) out of the profit loop, and solve a medical need for the west while keeping dangerous drugs off the streets of western cities - but the current administration will never even consider the idea. But I'm going to tell you anyway...

Encourage the cultivation of Papaver somniferum by Iraqi farmers, and buy the crop for use in pharmaceuticals. It is, after all the base ingredient in all opiate pain killers such as morphine. The farmers would have a legitimate market, and pharmaceutical companies would have access to raw materials that are currently in short supply.

It makes perfect sense except for one little thing....we aren't just at war with Iraq - we're at war with drugs, too.

Apparently, we can safely add common sense to that list as well.

There's more: "Opium poppies cropping up across Iraq" >>

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Did Robert Gates Order Iran Speedboat Provocation?

The story of the Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz that supposedly threatened U.S. warships has been pretty thoroughly debunked by now. Now Asia Times has an article that details how the disinformation was created and spread by the Pentagon, as the Pentagon planted stories with the press, starting with CBS and CNN. Even though the encounter at sea was "not that different from many others in the Gulf over more than a decade," the Pentagon timed the news about the supposed provocation to a trip by Bush to the region.

The key line in the Asia Times piece is right at the beginning (my bold emphasis):

Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the January 6 US-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran's military aggressiveness, a reconstruction of the events following the incident shows.

Forget the small fry, like Bryan Whitman, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in charge of media operations, who initially spread the story at an "off the record" briefing for reporters. From whence did this "broader administration policy decision" derive? Who ordered it?

A little into the AT story, we get our answer (or the first inklings of it):

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ballesteros of the Pentagon's Public Affairs Office told IPS the decision on what to include in the video was "a collaborative effort of leadership here, the Central Command and navy leadership in the field".

"Leadership here", of course, refers to the secretary of defense and other top policymakers at the department. An official in the US Navy Office of Information in Washington, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that decision was made in the office of the secretary of defense.

So it was Gates. It's Secretary of Defense, and former CIA chief Gates's resignation we should be calling for. But, I find it hard Gates would have initiated this all on his own. He must have consulted with, if not received orders from either Cheney or Bush. -- Funny though how those three letters keep popping up whereever you look: C-I-A.

Where's a free and enquiring press when you need one? The whistleblowers on this one probably emanate from the Navy itself, as commanders in Iraq were not apparently too happy at this dangerous exercise in spin and provocation from Washington:

The commanding officer of the guided missile cruiser Port Royal, Captain David Adler, dismissed the Pentagon's story that he had felt threatened by the dropping of white boxes in the water.... "I saw them float by. They didn't look threatening to me."

The naval commanders seemed most determined, however, to scotch the idea that they had been close to firing on the Iranians....

Asked whether the navy's reporting of the episode was distorted by Pentagon officials, Lydia Robertson of Fifth Fleet Public Affairs would not comment directly. But she said, "There is a different perspective over there."

Coming after the startling revelations in the British press by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds that U.S. officials have been involved in a bribery scheme involving the export of nuclear secrets to countries like Pakistan (which has been suppressed in the U.S. press), the emerging truth about this latest provocation and misinformation in the Gulf, presaging war against Iran, demonstrates that the rulers of the U.S. are the most dangerous threats to the world on the planet. We can only hope, given the current political dynamic in the U.S., that Robert Wexler and Dennis Kucinich in the U.S. House of Representatives are successful in bringing impeachment charges against Bush and Cheney. Because short of that, I can't imagine what will stop them in their insane quest for war.

Also posted at Invcitus, with H/T to FishOutOfWater for his excellent diary on this at Daily Kos.

There's more: "Did Robert Gates Order Iran Speedboat Provocation?" >>

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bushliburton's Military Supply Chain

Inspired by Edger's post titled Bush, Cheney Industries, Inc.

There's more: "Bushliburton's Military Supply Chain" >>

Ongoing Problems at Walter Reed Hospital

Ongoing Problems at Walter Reed
By Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t | Interview, Tuesday 15 January 2008

"Nothing has changed [at Walter Reed]. Same facility. None of the recommendations that I made have been implemented and to my knowledge they really aren't working on it."

Former Army Lt. and military nurse Doug Connor sat down for an interview with Truthout reporter Geoffrey Millard to share his experience before and after the Walter Reed Medical Center scandal broke.

Encouraged by the firings of top military officials as a result of the problems at Walter Reed, Connor spoke out about the dilapidated conditions at Walter Reed. He sent a letter to Gen. Gregory A. Schumacher with recommendations for improving conditions in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where there were equipment shortages and outbreaks of infectious bacteria, including extremely dangerous drug-resistant forms of Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium that has been ravaging injured soldiers in Iraq and in domestic military hospitals.

The infection problems caused other units within the hospital to lose faith in the ICU's ability to care for surgical patients. Because of the infections, "the kidney transplant team will not recover their patients in the surgical ICU anymore," Connor said in the interview.

According to Connor, his recommendations were not acted upon. Instead, he claims that he was retaliated against. "I thought he would thank me for letting him know where there were areas that needed to be fixed ... I have been retaliated against because of the letters that I have sent out. It is pretty transparent ... Everyone that has seen what happened around me is just like 'yeah, they're going after you.'"


Connor is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Matt Renner is a reporter for

There's more: "Ongoing Problems at Walter Reed Hospital" >>

Bush Cheney Industries, Inc.

Treason for sale
Larisa at-Largely, January 14, 2008

We know that there are a number of Saudi royals sympathetic to the Jihadi cause. We also know that many in the Saudi royal family fund terrorism in general and al Qaeda in particular. We know that the majority of foreign fighters in Iraq are Saudi nationals - killing our troops. We know too that the majority of 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Yet, the US has continued to supply the Saudis with weapons, despite their role as being the world sponsor of terrorism. The latest is as follows:
"RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush, trying to counter Iran's growing military clout, made clear his commitment on Monday to go ahead with a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia as he began his first visit to the Islamic kingdom.

Just hours after his arrival in Riyadh, the U.S. administration said it notified Congress of its intention to offer the Saudis a controversial package of advanced weaponry as part of a multibillion-dollar deal with Gulf Arab allies."
Sorry? If I recall we were fighting a war on terror and yet we are providing advanced weapons to the terrorists? How the hell is this not treason? Seriously, I want a Constitutional scholar to tell me how this is not treason. The Saudi regime may be Bush's ally in the mythical war on terra, but they are no ally of the US, and they are certainly no ally of Israel or or India, or to any other democracy in the world.

Oh did I mention what types of weapons we will be handing to the Saudis? Our deal includes - sit down now - Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb kits.
Let's hear a big round of applause for George W. Bush and his idiot supporters....

UPDATE on the flip: [Israeli] Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel was concerned the weapons might fall into terrorist hands.

This beady eyed smirking deceitful lying little two faced conscienceless psychopathic mother f'cker is selling weapons to people who are shipping them to people who are using them to kill American soldiers that HE is sending into Iraq as targets for his customers., Israel, 20/04/2007
Gates says Washington to sell smart bombs to Saudi Arabia
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during his visit to Israel that Washington has decided to sell Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs to Saudi Arabia, Haaretz has learned.

A recent discussion in Washington raised the possibility that Jerusalem would ask the U.S. not to sell the satellite-guided smart bombs to the Saudis, but it was decided to reject this request.

The Israel Air Force itself has purchased the high-accuracy JDAMs, and used them against Hezbollah targets during the Second Lebanon War. Defense Minister Amir Peretz expressed Israel's opposition to the sale of the weapons to Saudi or other Persian Gulf states during his visit to the U.S. a few weeks ago. Peretz said Israel was concerned the weapons might fall into terrorist hands. Israel also argues that the presence of such weapons in the Arab countries undermines Washington's pledge that Israel will enjoy a qualitative edge in the region - attained mainly by the possession of advanced weaponry.
The main component of the JDAM is not the bomb itself, but rather its tail kit, which can also be installed on an ordinary bomb. The target location is fed to the system by satellite, which can also be done by computer during flight. The computer determines the best moment for the pilot to release the bomb. Pilots and other experts say this type of bomb "can be aimed through a window."
Treason and conspiracy to commit murder.

What else would anyone with half a brain call it?

Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb test
Warning: turn down your speaker volume.

There's more: "Bush Cheney Industries, Inc." >>

Numbers as numbers

(Cross-posted from Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time.)

This is going to be less analytical than I wanted, in fact it's not even what I had planned to write about, but the truth is I'm still sick and I'm afraid the dark cloud is readying another assault. So much for my good intentions to have a solid piece here to be read on Tuesday. I'm off to a great start.

Still, there is something I want to say.

Last week, the results of the latest household survey of Iraq were released. And, like everything else about our war, it provoked argument.

Performed by the Ministry of Health and the Central Office of Statistics in Iraq with technical assistance provided by the World Health Organization and funding by the UN, the major finding was that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence between the beginning of the invasion and June 2006.

The estimate[, WHO said in a press release,] is based on interviews conducted in 9345 households in nearly 1000 neighbourhoods and villages across Iraq. The researchers emphasize that despite the large size of the study, the uncertainty inherent in calculating such estimates led them to conclude [with 95% confidence] that the number of Iraqis who died from violence during that period lies between 104 000 and 223 000.
Despite the fact that it was the largest, most widespread household survey to date of Iraqi deaths, it was met with considerable skepticism in some quarters of the progressive blogosphere. Some groused about the fact the Iraqi government was involved; that, it was said, automatically made the figures more than suspect. And in fact, as AP noted, the new figure
closely mirrors the tally Iraq's health minister gave in late 2006, based on 100 bodies a day arriving at morgues and hospitals.
Actually, it's about 20% higher than that rate and the figure was considered shocking at the time because it was so much higher than earlier official estimates, but still, not that far off, and that agreement with an earlier claim by a government official raised some eyebrows. Others looked with narrowed eyes at the fact that
[m]ore than 100 neighborhoods, mostly in Baghdad and Anbar, could not be visited for safety reasons. So researchers estimated deaths in those areas by using a formula based on information from another group that tallies fatalities, the British-based Iraq Body Count.
Because IBC uses a very conservative method, counting only non-combatant deaths confirmed by at least two news accounts, various folks on the left dismiss it, some even charging that the group deliberately underplays the numbers in order to make the war seem, in the words of one, "a humane occupation." One blogger rejected the group's numbers as "discredited."

But ultimately, the objections were not about arcane points of methodology or the use of IBC figures. (Sidebar: The criticisms often read as though people thought the Iraqi/WHO survey simply used the IBC numbers for the areas the surveyors didn't dare go. If so, that's incorrect, since the study used "a formula based on" that data, which pretty clearly establishes the totals were extrapolated from IBC, not copied from it.) They were about one fact and one fact only:
The number reported by this survey is considerably below the 2006 Johns Hopkins survey which covered much the same period and reported 600,000 deaths by violence.
That's it. That was the actual concern. The new numbers just weren't big enough.

Now, there are reasons to suspect that the new numbers undercount the actual total. For example, NPR quotes study co-author Dr. Ties Boerma, Director of Measurement and Health Information Systems at WHO. The figures
"don't include car accidents and they don't include unintentional injuries," says Boerma. "They just include intentional injuries and armed conflict. In fact, the armed conflict deaths are more than 80 percent of the deaths we got reported."

Researchers left it up to the respondents to define the cause of death,
opening up the possibility of families not reporting some deaths because they thought of them as accidents. But that wasn't the problem.

AP notes that
many deaths go unreported in the chaos that has gripped the country, or the numbers may be tainted by sectarian bias. ... Muslim burial traditions add to difficulties - many families are believed to simply bury loved ones before sundown on the day of death without ever reporting the fatality.
But that wasn't the problem.

There is suspicion of the central government. Les Roberts, co-author of the Johns Hopkins study, suspects that lead families to be reluctant to admit a family member died violently. But that wasn't the problem.

A large number of Iraqis have fled the country and any violent deaths suffered within their families obviously would not be counted here. But that wasn't the problem, either.

No, the problem, again, the real problem, the core concern driving the doubts among progressive and liberal bloggers, was that the number reported by the Iraqi/WHO survey was considerably smaller than the one the reported by the Johns Hopkins survey.

That was the problem: a smaller and so, I gather, seemingly less politically useful number.

And oh my word, it makes my soul hurt.

Who the fuck cares? Suppose the death toll is "only" 150,000 instead of 600,000. So what? Is that supposed to matter, to make a difference, to justify any of the madness, mayhem, and murder?

I don't care which estimate is the most accurate. I don't! I don't care if it's 600,000, "only" (only???) 150,00, or even 84,000 (midpoint of the IBC range). I really do not care.

Isn't even that lowest figure horrifying enough? Aren't 84,000 dead humans important enough for our outrage? Do the dead in Iraq, coming so fast that there would seem barely enough time to mourn them, matter to us only as political talking points?

Yes, the IBC number, by definition, is a subset of the whole, yes, clearly the actual death toll is higher, probably considerably so. But even at that and maybe even because of that, isn't it enough? It's 48 non-combatant Iraqis killed a day, every day, since we invaded. It's a 9/11 for innocents every nine weeks for nearly five years.

Why are we even getting into these pissing contests about methodologies and universes and confidence levels? Why do we seem to find it necessary to maximize the devastation? It's said that one death is a tragedy, 50 deaths is a horror, and 5,000 deaths is a statistic. Is that all the Iraqis have become to us? Statistics for scoring political points?

I say, let the statisticians argue it out. Because I don't care. Because the fact is, even the lowest estimates can't wash the rivers of blood from our hands. Because while it'd be good to know the truth of the numbers, whatever they are, the truth of the war does not depend on them.

Meanwhile, as we look to score our political points and pore over our Clinbama polls, that war continues with our passive support.

Yes, our support. After all, we still pay our taxes for the Pentagon.

Candidates who actually would stop the war remain in single digits.

The walls of Congress and the White House still stand in the notable absence of hundreds of thousands, millions, of bodies pressing on them. (I'm reminded of the story that during Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson once rejected a Pentagon request for more troops to escalate the war by asking the brass to calculate how long it would take 100,000 angry Americans to "climb the White House wall and lynch their president.")

The convoys, the deployments and re-deployments and re-re-deployments, continue unhampered and unimpeded by people blocking their way.

Business goes on, that is, pretty much as usual here. And death goes on, pretty much as usual, in Iraq.

Few - very few - of us have actually done what we can to stop the war. Not what we comfortably can, not what we conveniently can, what we actually can. Our guilt as war opponents may be less, but we are not guiltless. The blood stains may not be as deep, but they are there.

How many have to die before it engages our moral rather than merely our political outrage?

Footnote: The Iraqi/WHO survey report, in .pdf format, is at this link.

There's more: "Numbers as numbers" >>

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bush's Last Defiant Act As President: Fomenting Another War

Crossposted from BFD Blog!

In an article headlined "Bush Urges Arab Allies to Confront Iran" in the New York Times Steven Lee Myers reports:

In an address to government and business leaders here, Mr. Bush focused not only on what the United States suspects are Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also its suspected support for Islamic groups and militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He called Iran’s government “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism” and accused it of imposing repression and economic hardship at home.

“Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere,” Mr. Bush said. “So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”

"Confront this danger before it is too late" sounds like code for "provide me the cover to invade another sovereign nation to further the agenda of my true masters, the disaster capitalism corporate complex."

Don't let this "train leave the station", folks, contact your representatives in Congress and tell them to exercise some character and stop writing Bushiliburton blank checks. Tell them to stand up to everything that is evil, greedy, rapacious and mercenary about Bushliburton and the disaster capitalism corporate complex and to stop dragging our country in to Fascism.

Illustration: The Worried Shrimp

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Iraq War vs the Economy

(Cross posted from Gold Star Mom Speaks Out)

Time online recently posted an article called Will Iraq Return as a Campaign Issue? The article talks about how the state of the economy has replaced the war in Iraq as *the* issue in the presidential campaign. At the one year anniversary of the surge, the announced "success" of the surge has many people thinking the war is over. Speaking to troops in Kuwait, the president reminded his audience that last year's strategy shift was initially scorned in the U.S. but has turned out to be remarkably effective. I'm sure the families of the 900 soldiers who were killed since the surge was announced might not agree with the president or with those that believe the war is over.

Of course the state of the US economy is worrisome. As unprecedented numbers of homeowners are facing foreclosure, the unemployment rate is creeping up, the weakness of the US dollar and the need for a dose of Dramamine to try to keep up with Wall Street these days; it's no wonder the economy hasn't taken a place in the front seat sooner. Many people believed the president when he told the country the the economy is fine, don't worry, go shopping, he said. What's not to like about that?

We can be naive, but let's not be stupid. There is enough evidence now that the cost of the war and the state of the US economy are directly connected. Not to be simplistic, but if the administration wasn't spending as much money as it is in Iraq, perhaps there might be a chance for at least some of our economic issues to be addressed.

Let's remember the ### Iraq War Cost as they grow astonishingly by the second. How can we not connect the dots between the economy and the ongoing occupation in Iraq? The weekly cost of the war in Iraq is $275 million per day. That adds up to $4100 per household. Is that working for you and your community? Can you think of other ways that your tax dollars could be better spent?

If you want to know exactly how much money your community, your county or your state is spending and what the trade-off might be, please check the National Priorities Project. You can see what could have been purchased instead of a 5 year war, including how many people could have been provided with Health Care, how many elementary School Teachers could have been hired, how many affordable housing units or homes with Renewable Electricity, and many others.

You cannot have a conversation about the costs of war without talking about the loss of our blood and treasure; the human cost of war. Our country has lost 3923 members of the military who were serving our country in Iraq with at least 30,000 wounded. The population of Iraq has suffered immeasurably, too. 2007 was the worst year for casualties and while the recent drop in deaths is some good news, there is no guarantee that that trend will continue. Remind the candidates that 70% of Americans want war to end.

Do not let the media or the candidates distract you. The economy and the war in Iraq are important issues that must be addressed by anyone who sees themselves as the 44th president of the United States. These issues are explicably and forever connected and we must not let anyone tell us otherwise.

There's more: "Iraq War vs the Economy" >>

General David Petraeus To Iran: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Notes on a personable administration military mouthpiece

Cross-posted @ My Buffalo River Home, and McClatchy

From McClatchy:

"Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Iraq, who briefed the president on Iraq along with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, also spoke out against Iranian intervention.

BushPet 225"Iran's senior-most leaders promised Iraq's that they would stop funding, arming, training and directing of militia extremists and other elements in Iraq that were creating security challenges," Petraeus said. "We are waiting, frankly, to see that carried out."

The Iranians said that they would attempt to prevent the aforementioned behavior. They NEVER admitted to arming ANY Iraqi insurgents with ANY weaponry, EFPs, or anything else!

You know the old saying: "Have the Iranians stopped beating their wives yet?"

David Petraeus is quite simply a personable administration military mouthpiece with a limited logical/rhetorical repertoire.

DO you disprove something you aren't doing?

Do they have to start arming Iraqi militants (patriots) to stop and say they did, but they aren't anymore?

Anyone with a living brain can see that this is utter B.S.

The U.S. has not produced a single speck of physical evidence to back their claim, and there is NO DOUBT it would be just as fabricated as the "Iranian speedboat tape."

Perhaps using those 1/4 million missing AK47s lost by the Pentagon's favorite air carrier, Victor Bout... Former KGB, now Russian mobster with connections to AQ & the Taliban...

Mr. Petraeus had the temerity to say it was just "..a bookkeeping error"

His time is up. He lies too much, just like his boss, George W. Bush.

Da' Buffalo

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