Category Archives: Iraq War

Hope this category fades into history soon.

Maybe it really is time to kick out the incumbents

When things don’t go well for some time, it is apparently reasonable to suggest that we need to kick out the incumbents, and I think it might be time to kick out the incumbents in religion. Christianity has been around for a long time and controlled kings and empires, and “peace on earth good will to men” has not happened. Christian Dominionists keep war against unbelievers on the front burner. Islam is a few years younger than Christianity, and they have that whole jihad terrorist fatwa thing going — a state of affairs that is not evidence of progress in meeting expectations for the good life. Judaism is over three thousand years old, and their God promised a lot more than has been delivered. Peace is even farther away from realization because each group has its own supremacists, which means we are all condemned to war until the last sect standing.

I am not suggesting that we kick out the incumbent God. God is either there and impervious to kicking out, or not there to kick out in the first place. But we do not hear directly from God, we hear from God’s managers, translators, handlers, and emissaries who tell us what God wants us to do. They have had thousands of years to get the message right, and somehow the whole group of prelates, bishops, imams, preachers, prophets, gurus, rabbis, evangelists, and even the Pope himself, have been ineffective. If we kicked them all out and replaced them with people who weren’t so much into the ideology, or the organization, or the profitability model, or whatever it is that has them stuck, maybe we would get a better result.

Blood for oil

From Australia on July 5th, 2007, in a story titled “Iraq deployment linked to oil: Nelson” Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said that “securing the world’s oil supply” is one of his government’s “considerations as it decides how long to keep troops in Iraq.” The story continues:

Speaking ahead of the release, Dr Nelson confirmed the Government viewed Australia’s involvement in Iraq as partially driven by the need to secure oil supplies, although he said the main reason was to ensure that the humanitarian crisis did not worsen.

If you are reading Al Gore’s new book Assault on Reason you will come across the information that prior to the Iraq invasion a map of Iraq that was passed around in the planning sessions did not even have cities marked on it. It was entirely a map of the oil fields and exploration areas.
I am fairly certain that the Bush administration promoted the Iraq war primarily for oil. If we were pursuing terrorists, why would we abandon operations in Afghanistan where we had Osama bin Laden essentially cornered and move our forces to Iraq where there were no terrorists? Why would our government after 9/11 assist Saudi embassy personnel in leaving the U.S. before they could be questioned? Why did our government work so hard to establish a non-existent link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? Why the lies? Why Iraq? Iraq has oil, Afghanistan has no oil. Bush and his cronies are heavily invested in oil.
For that matter, why a war at all? Oil is again a logical reason. The world is on the cusp of new energy technologies that are renewable, cleaner, and cheaper than oil. A war increases demand for oil, raises the profit potential, and slows research and development into alternatives.
In the war of blood for oil, oil is not cheap.
On July 7th as the 2007 national 4th of July holiday passed into history and I spent a midnight with my restless newborn grandson, a web site named The Iraq Body Count recorded 66,939. There is no speculation about this number. Each database entry has a record identifier, a date and time, a location, the name and identity of the person(s) who died if that was reported, how the person(s) died, and the number of people dead in that incident. The latest entry in the database on July 7th was for May 28, 2007, so the count is a shade over a month behind in counting actual deaths. In this May 28 entry, at 9:30 p.m. in Al-Musalla, northern Kirkuk, Mahmoud Hakim Mustafa, the editor-in-chief of a weekly newspaper, died in a drive-by shooting.
The Iraq Body Count is a ?comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention by the USA and its allies. The count includes civilian deaths caused by coalition military action and by military or paramilitary responses to the coalition presence (e.g. insurgent and terrorist attacks). It also includes excess civilian deaths caused by criminal action resulting from the breakdown in law and order which followed the coalition invasion.? It is located on the Internet at
Sometimes the number of deaths in an incident is not certain, and so the database holds two numbers, low and high. In the entry for Editor-in-Chief Mustafa has a numeral 1 in each of these columns, since one person was killed and the number is certain. An example of an uncertain number is the entry for a suicide car bomb attack on May 24 between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. This attack was directed at a funeral procession in Andalus, central Falluja, for Allawi-al-Isawi that killed, according to media reporting, either 33 or 34 people. So in this entry on this date the column for the minimum number killed has 33, and the column for the maximum number has 34.
The 66,939 above is the minimum total. The total of the maximum column today is 73,253. For purposes of comparison, the current population of Bristol Virginia is 17,367. Bristol Tennessee is 24,983.
Deaths of civilians who are part of the American occupation, people who go to Iraq to work for the companies to whom the U.S. government contracts work or invites to work in Iraq, are tracked on an Internet site located at . These now total 404, and include entries like this:

  • 14-Jun-2007 Vasconcellos, Joao Jose, Brazilian; kidnapped 1/19/05 – body identified 6/14/07 in Beiji; Engineer employed by Odebrecht
  • 12-Jun-2007 Butler, Michael W., American; IED – roadside bomb near Tikrit; Security Contractor employed by DynCorp

The same site tracks American military deaths, now at 3,606, and military dead of other Coalition nations, now at 286
The tracking of Coalition and Iraqi casualties on these two sites is reliable, but there is no reliable source for the number of wounded, not even of American wounded. The casualty tracking site says that over 26,000 wounded have been officially recorded, but the total may be as high as 100,000. These are Americans wounded in war. If you are listening to the television news, listen closely for the number of wounded. It is unlikely you will even hear the word.
American media, under-reporting the Iraq war to focus on celebrities and ?human interest? content that better serves the marketing interests of their sponsors, has ceased to report any military wounded in Iraq. Instead, they report ?injuries.? An injury is what you get when you miss a step on the stairs or your car bounces off the guardrail. It is the result of carelessness or accident. In military action, the word is ?wounded,? not ?injured,? and an administration that is counting how many troops are needed for continued operations should at least be able to count their wounded.
In place of a number and the names of our American wounded, the official tracking site tells us, ?U.S. lacks the mechanism to accurately track troops wounded in Iraq.? This lack is either gross stupidity or a calculated intention to under-count and under-report, because the mechanism for counting the wounded, like the mechanism for counting anything else, begins with ?one? for the first person who is wounded and increases by one for each subsequent person. It is no wonder at all that we aren’t treating our wounded in the way they need to be treated if we cannot even say who they are.
On the site, UPI reports :

As many as 1 of every 10 soldiers from the war on terror evacuated to the Army’s biggest hospital in Europe was sent there for mental problems.
Between 8 and 10 percent of nearly 12,000 soldiers from the war on terror, mostly from Iraq, treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany had “psychiatric or behavioral health issues,” according to the commander of the hospital, Col. Rhonda Cornum.
That means about 1,000 soldiers were evacuated for mental problems.

Actually I want to question that meaning, since as the story reads, the 1,000 soldiers with mental problems could also have physical wounds from a bullet or a bomb.
The UPI story explains that this one hospital has treated 11,754 soldiers. Of that number, 9,651 came from Iraq and the rest from Afghanistan. Where do the rest of the wounded go? Home? Back into Iraq? We don’t know, because we can’t even count them.
So the price of gas is still going up, oil companies are getting rich and buying senators, and people are dying every day.

Kerry promises to vote “No”

The new legislation is more of the same, and I campaigned for Democrats in the last election so we could have something different.
Kerry is asking you to read more than 25 words, (all related to the same topic!) but he is right as usual. And I am tired of the slogan culture myself. If we see our nation plundered and our democracy undermined, we will have at least two factions to blame. One will be the plunderers, and the other will be an electorate that can’t take time to read a paragraph or think about an issue.

Bible class lawsuit

In an article titled Advocacy groups sue to halt Bible classes in Texas schools, posted May 16 2007 by Education, from Associated Press in Dallas tells about eight parents in west Texas who are suing a school district over a Bible course. They say it violates their religious liberty, and they have sued to have the class discontinued:

The American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way Foundation sued the Ector County Independent School District, asking the Odessa school system to stop teaching the course.

The people objecting to the program say that the course ?contains errors, dubious research and blatantly favors a fundamentalist, Protestant view of the Bible.?
You can?t teach ?about? the Bible as literature without offending fundamentalists, and you can?t teach the fundamentalist viewpoint without offending just about everyone else. This will be an interesting case, since the brief story reports that one of the plaintiffs is a Presbyterian deacon.
The course materials come from National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NC) and ?backers of the National Council include David Barton, who operates a Web site that promotes helping local officials develop policies that reflect Biblical views and encourages Christian involvement in civic affairs.? American Family Association, Eagle Forum and Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute are named as supporters of the program.
PFAW outlines the origins and associations of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, and says that:

NCBCPS has boasted that anywhere from 45 to 300 school districts have adopted its curriculum, but no one really knows, and NCBCPS won’t tell the public. NCBCPS has generally refused to make its curriculum available for evaluation by scholars and the media, selectively disclosing it only to friendly school board members and parents.

Lara Logan Story on CBS Website

Here is the Lara Logan story that CBS won’t broadcast. They do have it on their website: