Monday, April 19, 2004

Not enough peacekeepers

If you've wondered just how few peace-keeping soldiers the Iraq coalition-supporting nations have sent, read this brief article. I have to admit even I was surprised. The U.S. has 130,000 troops. This article contains the following info:

Poland- 2,400
Albania- 71
Honduras- 370 (soon to pull out?)
Italy- 2,700
Ukraine- 1,650
Slovakia- 105
Portugal- 128 (rumors of pullout)
Great Britain- 12,000

According to a web-based not-for-profit project based in Melbourne, Australia titled Perspectives on World History and Current Events, the statistics read as follows:

Iraq Troop numbers March 2004

1 USA 130,000
2 United Kingdom 9,000
3 Italy 3,000
4 Poland 2,460
5 Ukraine 1,600
6 Spain * 1,300
7 Netherlands 1,100
8 Australia 800
9 Romania 700
10 Bulgaria 480

11 Thailand 440
12 Denmark 420
13 Honduras 368
14 El Salvador 361
15 Dominican Republic 302
16 Hungary 300
17 Japan 240
18 Norway 179
19 Mongolia 160
20 Azerbaijan 150
21 Portugal 128
22 Latvia 120
23 Lithuania 118
24 Slovakia 102
25 Czech Republic 80
26 Philippines 80
27 Albania 70
28 Georgia 70
29 New Zealand 61
30 Moldova 50
31 Macedonia 37
32 Estonia 31
33 Canada 31
34 Kazakhstan 25

More trouble for U.S. public relations in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. troops shot to death two employees of U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya on Monday and wounded a third in the central city of Samara, the station said.
Correspondent Asaad Kadhim and driver Hussein Saleh were killed. Cameraman Bassem Kamel was wounded "after American forces opened fire on them while they were performing their duty," the station announced. [link]

Congress' first public hearings on the planned Iraq June 30 transition will soon be underway. Our nation is completely polarized and these Congresspeople know, because of rising violence and casualties in Iraq, that they'll have to go home when Congress recesses and face their angry, disgusted, and/or anxious constituents.

The newly elected Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has ordered his 1300 soldiers to leave Iraq "in the shortest possible time", because there is still no sign of the United Nations becoming involved. Today, Bush warned Madrid against taking further actions which would give "false comfort to terrorists". I asked myself, how is Spain's pullout NOT a real comfort for Iraqi insurgents? What Bush is warning Spain against is giving the insurgents any further real and true comfort. When I thought about it some more, I realized it's been Bush giving the insurgents true comfort by his arrogance. The proud Bush's refusal to accept the U.N. as a relevant partner in all of this has made a miserable failure of his stubborn war plan. The insurgents understand this arrogance. It gives them fuel for their fires. I would recommend to our President that he go back to the U.N. and tell them how very relevant he has come to see they are and that, in a truly multilateral coming together, all comfort to the enemy will be forever dissipated.


Iraq Unravels: An Interview with Canada's top war reporter Scott Taylor:

"...I can't say exactly what [the four Americans killed and mutilated in Fallujah] were doing, but nobody just goes driving through Fallujah. They had some other role. But in any case they knew the risk. These guys were making $1,000 a day.....the guys doing the de-mining training for Iraqis and mine-sniffing dogs are making from $14,000-$25,000 a month....They are private citizens, not restrained by any military code of conduct, not well-acquainted with the culture....if they are already on edge and understand neither the language nor the culture, they could end up dusting some Iraqi who was just trying to be friendly.......There is a huge rift between the US Army and the Brown & Root guys. In fact, one soldier even asked me how much I was making to be in Iraq. I tried to explain to him that I was just a journalist, not a contractor, and I got paid by the story. He didn't seem to understand the difference. Referring to one of those guys making $14,000 a month, he scowled, "at least someone's making money out of this sh*t".....the war didn't begin 12 months ago, it began 2 weeks ago (with the US attack on Sadr City). And it's likely to get a lot worse in the hot summer months ahead......"

I highly recommend that you go to John Emerson's site to read about the Bush-Bandar connection which, to my way of thinking, highly stings of anti-Americanism on the part of the Bush family. Our Founding Fathers and our patriot-ancestors didn't fight and die to be controlled by foreign interests. This is not the America I recognize from any of our precious Founding documents.

In his private 9-11 testimony on April 8, former President Bill Clinton testified that he personally warned President George W. Bush after the 2000 election that Osama bin Laden would be his top national-security threat. The Time Magazine article is HERE.

Karen Kwiatkowski: Inside the Neo-Con Pentagon

"I spent time that summer exploring the neo-conservative worldview and wondering what could explain this rush to war and disregard for real intelligence....War is generally crafted and pursued for political reasons, but the reasons given to Congress and the American people for this one were inaccurate and so misleading as to be false. Moreover, they were false by design..."

Newsday's James Klurfeld is still scratching his head about some of the comments President Bush made at his news conference last Tuesday. Bush freezes, Condi equivocates..what's the deal?

9-11 Commission: New information produced by the 9-11 commission so far has prompted six of its 10 members to say or suggest that the attacks could have been prevented. The commission has found new evidence that counterterrorism had become a priority for the Clinton national security team in the 90s. Even during the Clinton administration, Richard Clarke, who led anti-terrorism efforts under both Clinton and Bush, argued for aggressive (military) action against Bin Laden. In mid-August 2001, after the arrest of Moussaoui in Minneapolis, "slam-dunk" George Tenet was sent a briefing paper labeled “Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.” They took no action on the report. There were missed opportunities in the Moussaoui investigation that might have unearthed his connection to the terror cell in Germany which planned 9-11.

Sept 11 Investigation: In steadfastly refusing to admit any responsibility or blame for the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush and his top officials also may be taking a political risk. They may end up further elevating the report's conclusions about responsibility if any of it falls on their administration. Historian Robert Dallek said that while most Americans are probably more concerned with preventing future attacks, ``I think there is a certain amount of feeling in the country that people should be responsible. No heads have fallen. In the Pearl Harbor business, heads did fall.''

Wake Up America!:

"I feel an affinity for the troops over there in Iraq. They are my comrades in arms. I admire their sense of honor and sacrifice. I understand why some of them believe they should be there. They have neither the experience nor the wisdom to see past the lies they have been told. The truth is, they are not over there protecting our freedoms. Our freedoms are not under attack from Saddam Hussein or the remnants of his Baathist party. Our freedoms are under attack by John Ashcroft. They are threatened by John Poindexter. They are trampled by Donald Rumsfeld. They are disdained by Dick Cheney. And they are not even understood by George W. Bush."
--Dr. Robert Bowman, USAF Ret. [LINK]

Who said:

I laughed out loud (albeit heartbroken) when I read that statement considering the Patriot Act, the lies and misleadings, being warned that we have to watch what we say and all the other liberty-stifling which has occurred since Bush got a hold on the Oval Office. Did you know it pains President Bush to renew the assault-weapons ban and he secretly hopes the renewal bill won't make it through Congress? Did we learn nothing from Colombine or Michael Moore's film? At Buzzflash, they say they can prove Cheney supports gun control.

Bob Woodward's book "simply not right". [Condi simply a liar, I suspect] *not even a good one*

Do you think John Edwards will be tapped as VP for Kerry? Do you know that Sen. John Edwards sealed up North Carolina's democratic nomination Saturday in the first-ever N.C. caucus? The turnout was low, but the voters spoke their mind.
I think Bill Richardson would make a fantastic Secretary of State.

DeLay should know...he not only slings the mud, I suspect he IS the mud. Listen to this beauteous line by DeLay:

"The camera-driven tone of the hearings undermines the commission's credibility, distracts the American people from the gravity of the war on terror, and could send dangerous messages to unfriendly eyes and ears around the world."

Camera-driven tone
"? (ie: Let's censor). "Unfriendly eyes"? As a rational liberal American, Mr. DeLay, I sit here knowing full well that you look upon the likes of me with destructo-laser-beam eyes, so don't tell us about unfriendly, already.

Frank Rich:

"I didn't come here to watch a tribal bloodbath," says Peter O'Toole, as Lawrence of Arabia, earlier in the movie when first encountering the internecine warfare of the Arab leaders he admired. But the bloodbath continued — and now that we've ended Saddam's savage grip on Iraq, it has predictably picked up where it left off. Only Americans have usurped the British as the primary targets in the crossfire of an undying civil war...

Freedom of Speech: Gannett chain newspaper sacks knowlegeable foreign affairs writer Barrie Dunsmore..motives decidedly point to religious censorship.

It's sickening to hear the The Federal Election Commission is investigating Hillary Clinton (of all people) when we don't even have a trustworthy electoral system in place for this November. More right-wing wasting of precious time..more squandering the people's true opportunity for liberty and justice. The last presidential election was, for all intents and purposes, snatched from the weakened hands of the people. The vote is the people's most powerful voice...nowadays it seems our ONLY voice. Federal Election Commission: Get on the stick and stop fussing around with your petty witch-hunts. Our nation is near civil death and this will divide us further.