Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Star Tribune; First in USA to get around to acknowledging Downing St. Memo; Bush Lied

Editorial: Memorial Day/Praise bravery, seek forgiveness

May 30, 2005

Nothing young Americans can do in life is more honorable than offering themselves for the defense of their nation. It requires great selflessness and sacrifice, and quite possibly the forfeiture of life itself. On Memorial Day 2005, we gather to remember all those who gave us that ultimate gift. Because they are so fresh in our minds, those who have died in Iraq make a special claim on our thoughts and our prayers.

In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

The "smoking gun," as some call it, surfaced on May 1 in the London Times. It is a highly classified document containing the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting at 10 Downing Street in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair on talks he'd just held in Washington. His mission was to determine the Bush administration's intentions toward Iraq.

At a time when the White House was saying it had "no plans" for an invasion, the British document says Dearlove reported that there had been "a perceptible shift in attitude" in Washington. "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The (National Security Council) had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

It turns out that former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were right. Both have been pilloried for writing that by summer 2002 Bush had already decided to invade.

Walter Pincus, writing in the Washington Post on May 22, provides further evidence that the administration did, indeed, fix the intelligence on Iraq to fit a policy it had already embraced: invasion and regime change. Just four days before Bush's State of the Union address in January 2003, Pincus writes, the National Security Council staff "put out a call for new intelligence to bolster claims" about Saddam Hussein's WMD programs. The call went out because the NSC staff believed the case was weak. Moreover, Pincus says, "as the war approached, many U.S. intelligence analysts were internally questioning almost every major piece of prewar intelligence about Hussein's alleged weapons programs." But no one at high ranks in the administration would listen to them.

On the day before Bush's speech, the CIA's Berlin station chief warned that the source for some of what Bush would say was untrustworthy. Bush said it anyway. He based part of his most important annual speech to the American people on a single, dubious, unnamed source. The source was later found to have fabricated his information.

Also comes word, from the May 19 New York Times, that senior U.S. military leaders are not encouraged about prospects in Iraq. Yes, they think the United States can prevail, but as one said, it may take "many years."

As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice. But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq. Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious.

Editorial: Memorial Day/Praise bravery, seek forgiveness
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It is noteable; and Away for next 10 days

Just to leave a bookmark here that I'm away for next 10 days or so, and if no new entries in the blog, it does not mean blog has gone inactive.

It's noteable to note that a movement is growing regarding deceptive recruitment practices and in some ways I am hopeful as this engenders a different segment of the population who will have a diffferent focus and entry point into a position on the war in Iraq.

It's noteable that mainstream news is beginning to report again on aspects of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While it's not 'new' news to me and in some instances months and months outdated news (to me), it's heartening to see msm take an interest again, for whatever that is worth.

It's noteable that activity is heating up again in Afghanistan, and I'm seeing more deaths of our troops being reported in Afghanistan. I get the daily updates of reported casualties via the subscription to DOD newsletters.

It's noteable that it appears the situation in Iraq is at a place of their own internal civil war now, with our troops being pretty much caught up in an undefined role; one that is still costing them their lives.

It's noteable that the potential for crisis with the threat of an unwarranted airplane in the airspace of the Capitol caused notification to all of our political people to evacuate the buildings with the exception of one rather significant or insignificant person, our President, George Bush. You be the judge, as he didn't get the notification while he was on his bicycle jaunt, and we are told was not aware or made aware of the 'potential' of threat. This followed on the heels of the unexploded grenade left in close-by vicinity to where he was speaking in Georgia, Russia.
Neither he nor his Secret Police (why do they call it Secret Police, it's not a secret?) seemed to be aware of the 'threat'. But then we hear it from the msm as news, who knows anymore the accuracy of what gets reported. One thing is for sure, whatever does get reported is an agenda for someone guided to 'guide' our reactions and responses.

It is noteable that there is now a pattern of the weekly 'flap' or 'crisis' reported in the news, we can count on a new weekly 'crisis' now as part of normalcy. The trouble is, that what is reported is either manufactured news; approved for release news; the accepted 'spin' on old news or new news; whatever............... for our troops, normalcy continues to be daily combat, daily casualties, daily losses. You'd think that after this long with no clear improved circumstances, the troops might come to believe our country has abandoned them.

It is noteable that of a sudden there is news of devaluing the sacred Koran; like that was already an ogoing practice in our country's 'vigorous interrogation' policies. My, my but Administration was offended and demanded an apology and retraction from Newsweek, who reported on it. This from a country that elevates it's own counterpart of the holy book, the Bible as sacred political policy now, provided one interprets Biblical scripture in accordance with official policy. Why, we even have political firefights over iconoclasts symbology in our public buildings. Meanwhile, the squandering of sacred life goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So it's One, Two, Three, Four, what are we fighting for, next stop is ...............

And in the noteable words of the now California Governor, Schwatzernegger, 'I'll be back' .

And I know when I get back to this blog, I'll still be recording on the continued dying of our troops along with civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Happy Days, America, grab your hula hoops, tend to your manicured lawns, watch that nest-egg, pinch in the belt as we watch a way of life dissolve in the good governing policies this administration has fostered and nurtured in some far-reaching wisdom few can yet see, understand, comprehend or grasp. Change is definitely on the march and history is being made. As long as it's happening over there and not here, we are that much safer, isn't that the jingoism of our patriotic endeavors these days?

Hey Moms and Dads, Hey Young Adults, it's getting time to support the troops with your own loved ones cause well, our country has done an outstanding job of pushing our military to the breaking point. Get on board and help the troops. If that's not attractive to you, then get on board and get our troops home and put an end to this fiasco.
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Friday, May 13, 2005

Pentagon List of Recommended Base Closings

Pentagon List of Recommended Military Base, Facility Closings

Associated Press

Friday, May 13, 2005

A list obtained by The Associated Press of military facilities the Defense Department recommended for closure Friday:


Abbott U.S. Army Reserve Center, Tuskegee

Anderson U.S. Army Reserve Center, Troy

Armed Forces Reserve Center, Mobile

BG William P. Screws U.S. Army Reserve Center, Montgomery

Fort Ganey Army National Guard Reserve Center, Mobile

Fort Hanna Army National Guard Reserve Center, Birmingham

Gary U.S. Army Reserve Center, Enterprise

Navy Recruiting District Headquarters, Montgomery

Navy Reserve Center, Tuscaloosa

The Adjutant General Bldg, AL Army National Guard, Montgomery

Wright U.S. Army Reserve Center


Kulis Air Guard Station


Air Force Research Lab, Mesa

Allen Hall Armed Forces Reserve Center, Tucson


El Dorado Armed Forces Reserve Center

Stone U.S. Army Reserve Center, Pine Bluff


Armed Forces Reserve Center Bell

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Oakland

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, San Bernardino

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, San Diego

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Seaside

Naval Support Activity Corona

Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Detachment Concord

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Encino

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles

Onizuka Air Force Station

Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant


Sgt. Libby U.S. Army Reserve Center, New Haven

Submarine Base New London

Turner U.S. Army Reserve Center, Fairfield

U.S. Army Reserve Center Maintenance Support Facility, Middletown


Kirkwood U.S. Army Reserve Center, Newark


Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Orlando

Navy Reserve Center, St. Petersburg


Fort Gillem

Fort McPherson

Inspector/Instructor, Rome

Naval Air Station Atlanta

Naval Supply Corps School, Athens

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Columbus


Army National Guard Reserve Center, Honokaa


Navy Reserve Center, Pocatello


Armed Forces Reserve Center, Carbondale

Navy Reserve Center, Forest Park


Navy Marine Corps Reserve Center, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Bunker Hill

Navy Recruiting District Headquarters, Indianapolis

Navy Reserve Center, Evansville

Newport Chemical Depot

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Lafayette

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Seston


Navy Reserve Center, Cedar Rapids

Navy Reserve Center, Sioux City

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Dubuque


Kansas Army Ammunition Plant


Army National Guard Reserve Center, Paducah

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Lexington

Navy Reserve Center, Lexington

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Louisville

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Maysville


Baton Rouge Army National Guard Reserve Center

Naval Support Activity, New Orleans

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Baton Rouge

Roberts U.S. Army Reserve Center, Baton Rouge


Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Limestone

Naval Reserve Center, Bangor

Naval Shipyard Portsmouth


Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Patuxent River

Navy Reserve Center, Adelphi

Pfc. Flair U.S. Army Reserve Center, Frederick


Malony U.S. Army Reserve Center

Otis Air Guard Base

Westover U.S. Army Reserve Center, Citopee


Navy Reserve Center Marquette

Parisan U.S. Army Reserve Center, Lansing

Selfridge Army Activity

W.K. Kellogg Airport Air Guard Station


Navy Reserve Center Duluth


Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant

Naval Station, Pascagoula

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Vicksburg


Army National Guard Reserve Center, Jefferson Barracks

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Kansas City

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, St. Louis

Marine Corps Support Center, Kansas City

Navy Recruiting District Headquarters, Kansas

Navy Reserve Center, Cape Girardeau


Galt Hall U.S. Army Reserve Center, Great Falls


Army National Guard Reserve Center, Columbus

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Grand Island

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Kearny

Naval Recruiting District Headquarters, Omaha

Navy Reserve Center, Lincoln


Hawthorne Army Depot

New Hampshire

Doble U.S. Army Reserve Center, Portsmouth

Naval Shipyard Portsmouth

New Jersey

Fort Monmouth

Inspector/Instructor Center, West Trenton

Kilmer U.S. Army Reserve Center, Edison

New Mexico

Cannon Air Force Base

Jenkins Armed Forces Reserve Center, Albuquerque

New York

Armed Forces Reserve Center, Amityville

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Niagra Falls

Carpenter U.S. Army Reserve Center, Poughkeepsie

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Rome

Navy Recruiting District Headquarters, Buffalo

Navy Reserve Center Glenn Falls

Navy Reserve Center Horsehead

Navy Reserve Center Watertown

Niagra Falls International Airport Air Guard Station

North Carolina

Navy Reserve Center, Asheville

Niven U.S. Army Reserve Center, Albermarle


Army National Guard Reserve Center, Mansfield

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Westerville

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Dayton

Mansfield Lahm Municipal Airport Air Guard Station

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Akron

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Cleveland

Parrott U.S. Army Reserve Center, Kenton

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Whitehall


Armed Forces Reserve Center Broken Arrow

Armed Forces Reserve Center Muskogee

Army National Guard Reserve Center Tishomingo

Krowse U.S. Army Reserve Center, Oklahoma City

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Tulsa

Oklahoma City (95th)



Engineering Field Activity Northeast

Kelly Support Center

Naval Air Station Willow Grove

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Reading

North Penn U.S. Army Reserve Center, Morristown

Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station

Serrenti U.S. Army Reserve Center, Scranton

U.S. Army Reserve Center Bloomsburg

U.S. Army Reserve Center Lewisburg

U.S. Army Reserve Center Williamsport

W. Reese U.S. Army Reserve Center/OMS, Chester

Puerto Rico

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Humacao

Lavergne U.S. Army Reserve Center, Bayamon

Rhode Island

Harwood U.S. Army Reserve Center, Providence

USARC Bristol

South Carolina

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Charleston

South Naval Facilities Engineering Command

South Dakota

Ellsworth Air Force Base


U.S. Army Reserve Area Maintenance Support Facility, Kingsport


Army National Guard Reserve Center No. 2, Dallas

Army National Guard Reserve Center (Hondo Pass), El Paso

Army National Guard Reserve Center, California Crossing

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Ellington

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Lufkin

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Marshall

Army National Guard Reserve Center, New Braunfels

Brooks City Base

Defense Finance and Accounting Service, San Antonio

Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant

Naval Station, Ingleside

Navy Reserve Center, Lubbock

Navy Reserve Center, Orange

Red River Army Depot

U.S. Army Reserve Center No. 2, Houston


Deseret Chemical Depot


Fort Monroe


1LT Richard H. Walker U.S. Army Reserve Center

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Everett

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Tacoma

U.S. Army Reserve Center, Fort Lawton

Vancouver Barracks

West Virginia

Bias U.S. Army Reserve Center, Huntington

Fairmont U.S. Army Reserve Center

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Moundsville


Gen. Mitchell International Airport ARS

Navy Reserve Center, La Crosse

Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Madison

Olson U.S. Army Reserve Center, Madison

U.S. Army Reserve Center, O'Connell


Army Aviation Support Facility, Cheyenne

Army National Guard Reserve Center, Thermopolis

Pentagon List of Recommended Base Closings
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Experts: Iraq verges on civil war

WASHINGTON -- An unchastened insurgency sowed devastation across Iraq Wednesday as experts here said the country is either on the verge of civil war or already in the middle of it.

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.

read more at Newsday.com: Experts: Iraq verges on civil war
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Marine Unit Wiped Out in Iraq

Please read; please care; please act to do something to support our troops beyond foolish yellow magnet ribbons.

Demise of a Hard-Fighting Squad
By Ellen Knickmeyer
The Washington Post

Thursday 12 May 2005

Marines who survived ambush are killed, wounded in blast.

Haban, Iraq - The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.

Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.

Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley emerged from the smoke and turmoil around the vehicle, circling toward the spot where helicopters would later land to pick up casualties. As he passed one group of Marines, he uttered one sentence: "That was the same squad."

Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.

In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.

Every member of the squad - one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment - had been killed or wounded, Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon - which Hurley commands - had sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.

"They used to call it Lucky Lima," said Maj. Steve Lawson, commander of the company. "That turned around and bit us."

Wednesday was the fourth day of fighting in far western Iraq, as the U.S. military continued an assault that has sent more than 1,000 Marines down the ungoverned north bank of the Euphrates River in search of foreign fighters crossing the border from Syria. Of seven Marines killed so far in the operation, six came come from Lima Company's 1st Platoon.

Lima Company drew Marine reservists from across Ohio into the conflict in Iraq. Some were still too young to be bothered much by shaving, or even stubble.

They rode to war on a Marine Amtrac, an armored vehicle that travels on tank-like treads. Marines in Iraq typically crowd thigh to thigh in the Amtrac, with one or two men perched on cardboard boxes of rations. Only the gunners manning the top hatches of Amtracs have any view of the passing scenery. Those inside find out what their field of combat is when the rear ramp comes down and they run out with weapons ready.

Marines typically pass travel time in the Amtrac by extracting favorite bits from ration packets, mercilessly ribbing a usual victim for eating or sleeping too much, or sleeping themselves.

On Monday, when the Marine assault on foreign fighters formally began, the young Marines of the squad from the 1st Platoon were already exhausted. Their encounter at the house in Ubaydi that morning and the previous night had been the unintended first clash of the operation, pitting them against insurgents who fired armor-piercing bullets up through the floor. It took 12 hours and five assaults by the squad - plus grenades, bombing by an F/A-18 attack plane, tank rounds and rockets at 20 yards - to kill the insurgents and permit recovery of the dead Marines' bodies.

Afterward, they slept in the moving Amtrac, heads back and mouths agape. One stood up to stretch his legs. He fell asleep again standing up, leaning against the metal walls.

Squad members spoke only to compare what they knew about the condition of their wounded. Getting the latest news, they fell silent again. After one such half-hour of silence, a Marine offered a terse commendation for one of the squad members shot at Ubaydi: "Bunker's a good man."

With the operation underway, Marine commanders kept the 1st Platoon largely to the back, letting its men rest.

Commanders had hoped the operation would swiftly capture or kill large numbers of foreign fighters. But the foreigners, and everyone else here, had plenty of warning that the Marines were coming - including those ready to fight at Ubaydi.

By the time the squad from Lima Company crossed north of the Euphrates, whole villages consisted of little more than abandoned houses with fresh tire tracks leading into pastures or homes occupied only by prepubescent boys or old men. Men of fighting age had made themselves scarce. The AK-47 assault rifles ubiquitous in Iraqi households had disappeared.

Many Marines complained bitterly that commanders had pulled them out of the fight at Ubaydi while the insurgents were still battling, to start the planned offensive. "They take us from killing the people they want us to kill and bring us to these ghost villages," one complained Wednesday on the porch of a house commandeered as a temporary base.

Uneventful house searches stretched into late afternoon, the tedium broken only by small-arms fire and mortar rounds lobbed by insurgents hiding on the far side of the river.

This correspondent had just gotten off the Amtrac and the reconstructed squad from 1st Platoon was rolling toward the Euphrates in a row of armored vehicles, headed for more house searches, when the vehicle rolled over the explosive.

Marines initially said they believed the blast was caused by two mines stacked on top of each other. But reports from Marines that they had seen an artillery round and two hand-held radios near the blast site raised suspicions that the explosion was caused by a bomb that had been activated remotely, Lawson said.

Hurley and others pulled their comrades out of the Amtrac as flames detonated - or "cooked off," in military jargon - its ammunition. As Marines carrying stretchers ran to the Amtrac, bullets snapped out of the burning hulk and traveled hundreds of feet. The Marines ran back through the fusillade, carrying out the wounded. "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon," some shouted, desperate to get the wounded out.

The four dead were trapped inside the vehicle, Lawson said.

"We passed right over it. We passed right over it," one of many Marines in the convoy ahead of the burning Amtrac said of the explosive, puzzling over why he was still alive.

"That's the last of the squad," said another, Cpl. Craig Miller, whose reassignment last month had taken him out of the unit. "Three weeks ago, that would have been me."

Late Wednesday, helicopters flew out Hurley and the remaining members of 1st Platoon for time off. They are to return after the platoon is remade, Marines said.

Another Lima Company platoon commander ordered his men to bed early, in preparation for the next day's operations. Mourning could wait.

"We don't have time," the commander said.

t r u t h o u t - Marine Unit Wiped Out in Iraq
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Syria, Iran, Korea; Grenade, Wayward Plane, Recruiters, Budget

A new week; mean news this week is that our Marines are engaged in battle on the border of Syria. Meantime administration keeps dropping suggestive hints to media that our country intends action in Iran. Not much more reported on Korea who tested a nuclear missle in sea of Japan ... was it last week or 2 weeks ago?

Media reports an unexploded grenade found in vicinity of where Bush was speaking in his visit in Georgia..Russia.

White House evacuated because an errant plane managed to get into the protected air space zone of the White House. And hey, our own birds were in the air and on it this time...interceptors were in the air and guided the errant plane down...just like I've always known and expected of our ready Air Force (I'm an AF military brat).

Media reports the $82 Billion supplemental budget passed to keep our military funded thru Sept 05. Oh, and that will also provide for the 'securing our borders' emerging policies.

May 20th will be 'Stand Down' day for military recruiters as they undergo training to offset the aggressive tactics recruiters are using...or is that 'getting caught' and how not to get caught using aggressive tactics?

Parents, schools and group movements are getting vocal about military recruiters in the schools and deceptive recruiting practices. I haven't heard much mentioned in media about churches ('Men's Night Out' at Porter Baptist Church, Ky) disguising patriotic honorarium events for the troops doubling as thinly disguised recruiting endeavors, but then I've only seen this reported once so far in a blog. On another continent troop shortages are getting critical and military commanders warn of crisis in the capability of the all volunteer military to sustain, much less take on any new identified terrorist targets (countries).

There's much to talk about these days.
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Monday, May 9, 2005

The secret Downing Street memo

If as early as July 2002, both Bush and Blair knew they were taking their countries to war in Iraq, knew they would be sending in troops, why then by March 2003 (8 months later) was neither prepared to equip the troops they knew they would send into Iraq?

If there was lead up time to prepare the plans to go to war and induce fear into a susceptible congress/parlaiment and citizenry, there was time then to adequately prepare for the needs of troops being sent into combat.

Even if an optimistic case scenario of shock and awe and a quick finish was an expectation of these 'planners and leaders', now 2 + years later it's abundantly apparant this will be a long drawn out IraqNam and IranNam next?

And if PNAC had years to prepare their blueprint, why didn't that blueprint include the needs of troops in combat? How disposable are our troops?

excerpt from Common Dreams article and below that the Downing Street memo

.... snipped

Whether prompted by the open appeal of the international Truth-Telling Coalition or not, some brave soul has made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving London's Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6. Fresh back in London from consultations in Washington, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush administration's plans to make war on Iraq.

Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document, which immortalizes a discussion that is chillingly amoral. Apparently no one felt free to ask the obvious questions. Or, worse still, the obvious questions did not occur.

In emotionless English, Dearlove tells Blair and the others that President Bush has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by launching a war that is to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Period. What about the intelligence? Dearlove adds matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

At this point, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirms that Bush has decided on war, but notes that stitching together justification would be a challenge, since "the case was thin." Straw noted that Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.

.... snipped ...

May 1, 2005

The Secret Downing Street Memo


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)

The secret Downing Street memo - Sunday Times - Times Online
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U.S. deaths in Iraq surpass 1,600 - May 8, 2005

1600 and counting...want to keep going? Maybe it's time for reason to prevail, eh?

Total U.S. troop casualties in the Iraq war passed 1,600 Sunday, according to a CNN count, when two soldiers were killed near Khaldiya and a third died in Samarra.

read more at CNN.com - U.S. deaths in Iraq surpass 1,600 - May 8, 2005
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Friday, May 6, 2005

Up-Armored 'Gun Trucks' Save Servicemembers' Lives In Iraq

Up-Armored 'Gun Trucks' Save Servicemembers' Lives In Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2005 New 5-ton armored "gun trucks" fielded in Iraq are providing U.S. troops with effective protection against insurgents' improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire, a senior military researcher said today on Capitol Hill.

Currently, "there are 31 5-ton gun trucks in Iraq, and they are saving lives," Steven J. DeTeresa, an engineer from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., told members of the House Armed Services Committee.

DeTeresa said the Army used gun trucks during the Vietnam War. The Livermore lab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, he noted, have worked since December 2003 to jointly develop a modern version of the gun truck concept.

Take a gun truck's standard 5-ton heftiness - heavier than a Humvee -- then add armor and multiweapons capacity -- including hard-hitting .50-caliber machine guns - and you've got "a much more serious convoy protection platform," DeTeresa explained.

DeTeresa cited the experience of a gun truck crew in Iraq that survived an IED explosion, thanks to the truck's two layers of steel armor augmented by ballistic fiberglass.

The gun truck was damaged beyond repair, but "all the crewmembers survived with relatively minor injury," DeTeresa pointed out. The totaled vehicle's armor, he said, was removed and put onto another gun truck.

The fiberglass component of the armor "provides additional protection both from IED threats and small-arms" fire, DeTeresa said.

Gun trucks are also fitted with transparent ballistic glass shields, DeTeresa noted, so gunners can scan for enemy activity while gaining added protection.

Also at the hearing was Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. Mattis, who commanded Marines in Iraq, noted U.S. troops in Iraq now find "40 to 60 percent of the IEDs before they are detonated."

Added vehicle armor is a good thing for protecting troops in Iraq, Mattis agreed, but he cautioned not to use armor "to encase the soldiers and Marines so well that they cannot see what's going on outside."

see original article at DOD Defense Link

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Thursday, May 5, 2005

Army misses April recruiting goal by 42 percent

From Reuters

Tue May 3, 2005 05:41 PM ET

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army missed its April recruiting goal by a whopping 42 percent and the Army Reserve fell short by 37 percent, officials said on Tuesday, showing the depth of the military's wartime recruiting woes.

read rest of article at US News Article | Reuters.com
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Mother's Day Origins "In the name of womanhood and humanity..."

Good to know that this Mother's Day, I am in line with the origins of why Mother's Day was created. May my own Mother's Day realize my fervent wishes to an end to the war in Iraq, an exit date immediately for our troops deployed in Iraq (and Afghanistan) and to Bring the Troops Home.

Geov Parrish



In the name of womanhood and humanity..."

The radical origins of Mother’s Day: Julia Ward Howe's strident call for women to oppose the wars of men

Two years ago in this space, I took the occasion of an upcoming Mother's Day weekend to reprint the 1870 call by American poet and women's leader Julia Ward Howe for the establishment of the holiday. The response was astonishing; the awareness, by even peace activists, was nearly nil that what is now widely viewed as a sentimental tribute to family was originally a call for women to wage a general strike to end war.

This year -- as more and more mothers, in America as well as Iraq, mourn their fallen sons and daughters, lost to the insanity of organized violence -- Julia Ward Howe's call for women to not allow their men to constantly play at war is suddenly back in fashion. Around the country, her original Mother's Day Proclamation will be the basis for parades, remembrances, and other events that try to reclaim the holiday's original spirit in a year when the United States' (male-dominated) government talks seriously not of avoiding war, but staying the course on the multiple ones we're already fighting.

The radical origins of Mother's Day -- as a powerful feminist call against war, penned in the wake of the U.S. Civil War in 1870 -- are fully compatible with the universal notion of honoring mothers. Women, even more so now, are the primary sufferers of warfare. In the 20th Century, civilian populations bore 90 percent of war's casualties around the world; mass and indiscriminate attacks, popularized in WWII by the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Allied firebombings in Japan and Germany, and the rape of Nanjing, are only the most spectacular examples of a phenomenon in which women become the rape and famine victims, the refugees, the forgotten statistics in what are invariably the wars of men.

This year, I'm traveling cross-country to visit my mother in a trip that just happens to fall on Mother's Day. And we sent her a card, too, so my spouse could get in on the act. She appreciates all this. But a greater gift for the world's mothers still awaits: a day in which the voices of women -- now, as then, less inclined to rush to war or bask in its false glory -- are an equal part in the foreign policy of countries like the United States. As with so many other aspects of American history -- May Day is another -- a legacy that is now celebrated around the world is farthest from its original intent in the land of its birth. The generals have written our historical memory, most popular narratives glorifying the bloody trail of modernizing "Western Civilization."

It's worth remembering that the Civil War, a political division that lasted longer and was considered more intractable than today's Palestine/Israel conflict or indefinite "War on Terror," and that killed well over a hundred times more people on American soil than the attacks of September 11, was not unanimously lauded at the time. And that women thought they could do something to prevent such bloodshed in the future.

Here is the original, pre-Hallmark, Mother's Day Proclamation, penned in Boston by Julia Ward Howe in 1870:

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts,

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears

Say firmly:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!

Blood does not wipe out dishonor

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality

May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions.

The great and general interests of peace.

Maybe next year.

WorkingForChange-"In the name of womanhood and humanity...": "Geov Parrish


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Monday, May 2, 2005

Send them your ribbon magnets, so they can armor their vehicles (sarcasm)  Posted by Hello
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Learned yesterday that my sil's unit was briefed on their redeployment to Iraq (2nd for him) and were told that Rumsfeld to be visiting their unit (Germany). I am not sure when he will visit nor how many unit(s) will be included to hear Rumsfeld's encouraging support message. Unit was given this admonishment however;

'Do not ask Rumsfeld about uparmored humvees on threat of an Article 15'

Why not? It's public knowledge there are production problems with getting the troops the uparmored humvees; it's public knowledge the question was already asked of Rumsfeld months ago by a soldier in the field; it's public knowledge the President responded that we need to do all we can to get the troops the protection they need; it's public knowledge that production of uparmored humvees is being done by only 1 company; it's public knowledge that production has not improved since that question was put to Rumsfeld.

Since my sil (and all of his unit + the other units of 1st Armored) has orders to redeploy to Iraq and is Stop Lossed, and situation in Iraq is worsening, what more logical question could they ask than what kind of equipment they will have during combat?

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