Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And Naysayers deny that Bush is a Uniter not a divider

The US House, the US Senate, the US people and the Iraqi Parliament are united.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/world/asia/09afghan.html?ex=1336363200&en=89414e75b3252176&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

May 9, 2007

U.S. Pays and Apologizes to Kin of Afghans Killed
By DAVID S. CLOUD

WASHINGTON — An Army commander apologized and paid compensation on Tuesday to families of Afghan civilians killed by marines after a suicide attack in March, in the first formal acknowledgment by the American authorities that the killings were unjustified.

Col. John Nicholson, an Army brigade commander in eastern Afghanistan, met Tuesday with the families of the 19 Afghans killed and 50 wounded when a Marine Special Operations unit opened fire on a crowded stretch of road near Jalalabad after a suicide bomber in a vehicle rammed their convoy.

"I stand before you today, deeply, deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people," Colonel Nicholson said, recounting to reporters the words he had used in the meetings. In a videoconference to reporters at the Pentagon, he added, "We made official apologies on the part of the U.S. government" and paid $2,000 for each death.

The incident is already the subject of a criminal investigation by the Pentagon. But the decision to issue a public apology now reflects the military's growing concern that recent civilian casualties have led to widespread ill will among Afghans and could jeopardize military operations....

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/world/asia/10afghan.html

May 10, 2007

Afghans Say U.S. Airstrikes Killed 21 Civilians
By CARLOTTA GALL and DAVID S. CLOUD

HERAT, Afghanistan — Afghan officials said Wednesday that airstrikes called in by American Special Forces against Taliban fighters in Helmand Province had killed 21 civilians, the latest in a series of claims of noncombatant casualties that have strained relations with the Afghan government.

American military officials said they could not confirm that civilians had died in the fighting, a 16-hour battle that took place Tuesday at a village called Sarban Qala, near Sangin in Helmand Province.

But the governor of Helmand and the local administrator said civilians were killed, among them women and children, when their houses were bombed. "Twenty-one civilians were killed due to aerial bombardment," said Ezatullah, the district chief of Sangin, who uses only one name, in a telephone interview.

The newest report of civilian casualties came a day after an American officer formally apologized and made compensation payments for civilians who were killed by a Marine Special Operations unit that started a series of attacks along a 10-mile stretch of highway near Jalalabad in March after a suicide bomber in a vehicle rammed their convoy. The attacks killed 19 Afghans and wounded 50 more and led to riots....

anne

Anonymous said...

The problem, I suppose, is that I have ceased to understand war. I simply do not understand what we are about especially in Iraq but possible Afghanistan as well. Possibly I am becoming a pacifist, when pacifism does not seem thinkable. Still, I do not understand.

anne

Anonymous said...

Remember when Colin Powell went to the United Nations to speak for war? Before the Security Council hall there is a tapestry of Picasso's Guernica. The tapestry was covered for the appearance of Powell. I though do not understan what there meant or means. I find pictures of American soldiers superbly weaponed wandering bravely about Iraqi streets, and I just become frightened.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/05/08/the_disappearance_of_war_broken_soldiers?mode=PF

May 8, 2007

The Disappearance of War-Broken Soldiers
By James Carroll - Boston Globe

MY EARLIEST memory of a trip to the doctor is a happy one. I was 6 or 7. I had hurt my arm, and, because I desperately wanted a cast and a sling, I insisted it was broken. I remember that the doctor was kind, and he gently let me know that my arm was only sprained. Nevertheless, he wrapped it in a tan elastic bandage, and prescribed a sling for me. One of the reasons I loved that sling was its brown color. It was an Army sling. Because we were a military family, the hospital where Mom had taken me was Walter Reed.

For many years my associations with that complex of Georgian brick buildings in the far northwest of Washington were only positive. I grew up believing that military medicine is the best in the world, and that that was especially so in Washington. My father received comprehensive care in his last years at Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base, and my elderly mother had a major operation at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. The recent revelations of shoddy care offered to soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed were doubly shocking to me. Last week, a special commission reported that those failures were the result of bureaucratic mismanagement, but I wondered -- was something else at work in the way those soldiers were treated?

Bethesda is the key. Around the time of my visit to Walter Reed, James Forrestal, recently retired secretary of Defense, was admitted to Bethesda as a patient, and I now understand his welfare was not the hospital's paramount concern. This was the spring of 1949, and tensions with the Soviet Union were running high. Forrestal had stoked those tensions, helping to put in place what might now be reckoned a paranoid foreign policy. That was why, when he had a psychological breakdown -- he was found catatonic in his Pentagon office, he was reported seen running through the streets in his pajamas crying "The Russians are coming!" -- the clinical paranoia of the secretary of Defense was treated as a national secret. When Forrestal was admitted to Bethesda, he was not assigned to the locked psychiatric ward on the first floor because of the questions that would raise. Instead, he was put in the unsupervised VIP suite on the 16th floor. May 22, he killed himself by jumping from the unbarred window of his bedroom.

No one at the Navy hospital wished Forrestal ill, but keeping his condition secret was more important than keeping him safe. So-called national security trumped patient health, which resulted in unacknowledged pressures on diagnosis and treatment. "Operational fatigue" was the condition which Navy doctors ascribed to Forrestal, establishing appearances that all he needed was a little rest. This concern for public perception led directly to tragedy....

anne

Anonymous said...

When we look back to Joseph Heller and "Catch-22" or Kurt Vonnegut "Slaughterhouse-Five, the reviews show a fearfulness by reviewers to tell of what the books tell. "MASH" was reviewed as fearfully. We do not even understand what being against war might mean when the wars are ours at least.

anne

Anonymous said...

What puzzles me is that though every friend I have only wants us to leave Iraq immediately, possibly that is why we can stay friends, I find endless smart reasons why we cannot leave Iraq even from people who criticize the war harshly. What does it mean to be so smart as to not understand what war means and what is particular it means for a country to be occupied by an army constantly fighting through the country with weapons beyond imagination?

anne

Anonymous said...

Though I cannot know what is was like to be a pacifist when Martin Luther King was about, I would hope King made pacifism mosr acceptable even respectable than now. There is no King now, so educated people feel driven to apologize for wishing to simply leave Iraq let alone to be anti-war or (shudder) pacifist. Yes; there is a wish to finish with Iraq, but there is relatively little advocacy simply to leave; simply to stop the war by stopping warring.

anne

Anonymous said...

When I send notes on Iraq, especially on the costs of Iraq, to students who are gone and off about the world, I am asked repeatedly by now intelligent, aware and influential people, why they find so little discussion of such costs elsewhere. Now and then, but the discussion is always lost quickly. Possibly the implications are too difficult to dwell on, especially with no Martin Luther King.

anne

Anonymous said...

Imagine, we are told of the astounding finding on traumatic brain injury to soldiers alone, 17.8% of soldiers returned from Iraq. What then is the answer? Lengthen the tour of duty of soliers in Iraq. We are entirely mad.

John Murtha became an anti-war advocate, for which I will forever be grateful, because of not being able to bear the harm to soldiers. When was that?

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/world/middleeast/06haditha.html?ex=1336104000&en=1ddb6c6c957c4bdb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

May 6, 2007

Propaganda Fear Cited in Account of Iraqi Killings
By PAUL von ZIELBAUER

Recently unclassified documents suggest that senior officers viewed the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in late 2005 as a potential public relations problem that could fuel insurgent propaganda against the American military, leading investigators to question whether the officers' immediate response had been intentionally misleading.Col. R. Gary Sokoloski, a lawyer who was chief of staff to Maj. General Richard A. Huck, the division commander, approved a news release about the killings that investigators interviewing him in March 2006 suggested was "intentionally inaccurate" because it stated, contrary to the facts at hand, that the civilians had been killed by an insurgent's bomb.

According to a transcript of the interview, Colonel Sokoloski told the investigators, "We knew the, you know, the strategic implications of being permanently present in Haditha and how badly the insurgents wanted us out of there." ...

anne

Anonymous said...

"Shut the eyes of the dead, not to embarrass anyone." Who knows, I may be a pacifist. I know however that we need to leave Iraq immediately, as I knew 4 years ago and ever and always since. I am not smart enough to know otherwise.

anne

Anonymous said...

http://tolstoy.thefreelibrary.com/War-and-Peace/9-2

1863 - 1869

War and Peace
By Leo Tolstoy

1812

On the thirteenth of June a rather small, thoroughbred Arab horse was brought to Napoleon. He mounted it and rode at a gallop to one of the bridges over the Niemen, deafened continually by incessant and rapturous acclamations which he evidently endured only because it was impossible to forbid the soldiers to express their love of him by such shouting, but the shouting which accompanied him everywhere disturbed him and distracted him from the military cares that had occupied him from the time he joined the army. He rode across one of the swaying pontoon bridges to the farther side, turned sharply to the left, and galloped in the direction of Kovno, preceded by enraptured, mounted chasseurs of the Guard who, breathless with delight, galloped ahead to clear a path for him through the troops. On reaching the broad river Viliya, he stopped near a regiment of Polish Uhlans stationed by the river.

"Vivat!" shouted the Poles, ecstatically, breaking their ranks and pressing against one another to see him.

Napoleon looked up and down the river, dismounted, and sat down on a log that lay on the bank. At a mute sign from him, a telescope was handed him which he rested on the back of a happy page who had run up to him, and he gazed at the opposite bank. Then he became absorbed in a map laid out on the logs. Without lifting his head he said something, and two of his aides-de-camp galloped off to the Polish Uhlans.

"What? What did he say?" was heard in the ranks of the Polish Uhlans when one of the aides-de-camp rode up to them.

The order was to find a ford and to cross the river. The colonel of the Polish Uhlans, a handsome old man, flushed and, fumbling in his speech from excitement, asked the aide-de-camp whether he would be permitted to swim the river with his Uhlans instead of seeking a ford. In evident fear of refusal, like a boy asking for permission to get on a horse, he begged to be allowed to swim across the river before the Emperor's eyes. The aide-de-camp replied that probably the Emperor would not be displeased at this excess of zeal.

As soon as the aide-de-camp had said this, the old mustached officer, with happy face and sparkling eyes, raised his saber, shouted "Vivat!" and, commanding the Uhlans to follow him, spurred his horse and galloped into the river. He gave an angry thrust to his horse, which had grown restive under him, and plunged into the water, heading for the deepest part where the current was swift. Hundreds of Uhlans galloped in after him. It was cold and uncanny in the rapid current in the middle of the stream, and the Uhlans caught hold of one another as they fell off their horses. Some of the horses were drowned and some of the men; the others tried to swim on, some in the saddle and some clinging to their horses' manes. They tried to make their way forward to the opposite bank and, though there was a ford one third of a mile away, were proud that they were swimming and drowning in this river under the eyes of the man who sat on the log and was not even looking at what they were doing. When the aide-de-camp, having returned and choosing an opportune moment, ventured to draw the Emperor's attention to the devotion of the Poles to his person, the little man in the gray overcoat got up and, having summoned Berthier, began pacing up and down the bank with him, giving him instructions and occasionally glancing disapprovingly at the drowning Uhlans who distracted his attention.

For him it was no new conviction that his presence in any part of the world, from Africa to the steppes of Muscovy alike, was enough to dumfound people and impel them to insane self-oblivion. He called for his horse and rode to his quarters.

Some forty Uhlans were drowned in the river, though boats were sent to their assistance. The majority struggled back to the bank from which they had started. The colonel and some of his men got across and with difficulty clambered out on the further bank. And as soon as they had got out, in their soaked and streaming clothes, they shouted "Vivat!" and looked ecstatically at the spot where Napoleon had been but where he no longer was and at that moment considered themselves happy.

That evening, between issuing one order that the forged Russian paper money prepared for use in Russia should be delivered as quickly as possible and another that a Saxon should be shot, on whom a letter containing information about the orders to the French army had been found, Napoleon also gave instructions that the Polish colonel who had needlessly plunged into the river should be enrolled in the Legion d'honneur of which Napoleon was himself the head.

Quos vult perdere dementat.*

*Those whom (God) wishes to destroy he drives mad.

anne