Monday, June 30, 2003

Why are we still here? - Pat Buchanan

For less than three months after the fall of Baghdad, we have lost almost as many men in Iraq as we did in three weeks of war. One U.S. soldier is now dying there every day.

"Mission Accomplished," read the banner behind President Bush as he spoke from the carrier deck of the Lincoln. But if the original mission � to oust Saddam and end the mortal threat of his weapons of mass destruction � is "accomplished," why are we still there?

What is our new mission? What are the standards by which we may measure success? What will be the cost in blood and treasure? When can we expect to turn Iraq back over to the Iraqis? Or is ours to be a permanent presence, as in postwar Germany and Japan?

If that sergeant does not know what he is doing there, it is because his commander in chief has left him, and us, in the dark. And if the president does not begin soon to lay out the case for why we must keep 150,000 men in Iraq, the American people will begin to demand they be brought home. Already, one poll shows that 44 percent of the nation finds the present level of U.S. casualties "unacceptable."

Wednesday, June 25, 2003 WASHINGTON � When President Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones (search) had recently spotted Usama bin Laden as many as three times and officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the Al Qaeda (search) leader. But the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks later that year, current and former U.S. officials say.

Monday, June 23, 2003

The Globe and Mail
Iraq now: 20 questions

Is there power? Health care? How many troops remain? How many people died? In Baghdad, Globe correspondent MARK MacKINNON answers some lingering questions about the aftermath of the war in Iraq

Sunday, June 22, 2003

CBS News | Iraq's 1st Public Poll Backs U.S. The Pentagon has been playing down the attacks, saying they don't indicate widespread resentment on the part of the Iraqi people. Now, reports CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, Iraq's first-ever public opinion poll seems to back that up.

Sixty-five percent of Iraqis polled in Baghdad claimed they want the U.S. military to stay until Iraq is stable and secure; only 17 percent want American soldiers out now.

But some U.S. lawmakers are increasingly uneasy about the daily killings of soldiers, the stretching thin of troop forces, excessive demands on reservists and the costs of the war.

Friday, June 20, 2003

U.S. Troops Frustrated With Role In Iraq ( Daniel Williams and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, June 20, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, June 19 -- Facing daily assaults from a well-armed resistance, U.S. troops in volatile central Iraq say they are growing frustrated and disillusioned with their role as postwar peacekeepers.

In conversations in a half-dozen towns across central Iraq, soldiers complained that they have been insufficiently equipped for peacekeeping and too thinly deployed in areas where they are under attack from fighters evidently loyal to deposed president Saddam Hussein. Others questioned whether the armed opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq may be deeper and more organized than military commanders have acknowledged.

Thursday, June 19, 2003 - Iraqi Arms Tied to al-QaidaIraqi Arms Tied to al-Qaida
Found in raids in Saudi Arabia

June 17, 2003

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Weapons and explosives smuggled out of Iraq after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime may have ended up in the hands of al-Qaida militants in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi officials and a former Iraqi army officer.

Part of a major arms cache discovered by Saudi authorities during a May 6 raid in Riyadh appears to have come from Iraq, according to a Saudi official and the former Iraqi officer. The raid had targeted 19 al-Qaida members who fled during a shoot-out with Saudi security forces. At least three of the fugitives died when they took part in a series of simultaneous suicide bombings in Riyadh a week later, Saudi officials said. - U.S.: Leading Saddam aide caught - Jun. 19, 2003WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. forces in Iraq have captured Gen. Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, who was Saddam Hussein's personal secretary, national security adviser and senior bodyguard, Pentagon sources said Wednesday.

Mahmud is the ace of diamonds in the U.S. military's deck of 55 most-wanted Iraqis and No. 4 on the list behind Saddam and his sons Uday and Qusay. (Flash card deck: Iraq's most-wanted; non-Flash gallery)

Mahmud may know a lot about the location of Iraq's possible weapons of mass destruction and whereabouts of the former Iraqi leader, one official told CNN.
Specials > Iraq in Transition

EXTRA! Iraqi men sell newspapers to motorists in Baghdad. US officials say some news outlets are inciting violence against US troops.

In volatile Iraq, US curbs press

US issues an order against inciting attacks on minorities or US troops.

BAGHDAD � The once occasional attacks on US soldiers here are growing deadlier, and more frequent: Wednesday, a US soldier was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting. And outside the former Republican Palace, now the headquarters of the US administration, US troops killed two Iraqis during a protest by former Iraqi soldiers that spiraled out of control.
At least some of the fuel for the anti-American fire, US officials here charge, is being pumped out by new Iraqi media outlets.

L. Paul Bremer, the top US official here, says a new edict prohibiting the local media from inciting attacks on other Iraqis - and on the coalition forces - is not meant to put a stopper on the recently uncorked freedom of speech.

"It is intended to stop ... people who are trying to incite political violence, and people who are succeeding in inciting political violence here, particularly against women," Bremer said at a press conference Tuesday.

Iraqi journalists are not taking kindly to the restrictions. Among the scores of new publications that have flooded Iraq's newsstands since the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the broadsheet As-Saah is one of the most widely read. In a front-page editorial Wednesday, the paper's senior editor let readers know what he thought of the country's liberators: "Bremer is a Baathist," the headline reads.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The New Pet Craze: Robovacs
Scientists believe that robot pets trigger a hard-wired nurturing response in humans. It appears robot vacuums tap into the same instincts.

MIT anthropologist Sherry Turkle, one of the leading researchers in the field, is conducting studies on how children perceive smart toys like the Aibo, Furby, Tamagotchi and My Real Baby. She says humans are programmed to respond in a caring way to creatures, even brand-new artificial ones.

When Sony first released its robot dog, the Aibo, it was surprising to many that owners bonded with their mechanical pets in ways akin to how they would relate to cats and dogs.

Since then, the attachment to Aibos and other mechanical toys has become the subject of academic inquiry.

Researchers at the University of Washington are also examining how children and the elderly interact with the Aibo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The Observer | International | Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds

An official British investigation into two trailers found in northern Iraq has concluded they are not mobile germ warfare labs, as was claimed by Tony Blair and President George Bush, but were for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, as the Iraqis have continued to insist.
Weak spy network hurt hunt for arms
By John Diamond, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON � Slightly more than a year before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the CIA launched a major effort to rebuild its network of Iraqi agents, which had been badly depleted by repeated purges, according to congressional and Bush administration officials with knowledge of the effort. (Related story: Broad purges wiped out most Iraqis helping CIA)
Despite the commitment of substantial resources, however, the CIA had only modest success in reconstituting its organization inside Iraq. By the end of 2002, Iraqis working for the CIA had begun providing helpful information about Iraq's conventional weapons and other matters relating to the looming U.S. invasion. But the agents had provided no incontrovertible evidence of chemical or biological weapons, the officials said.

The difficulty the CIA had keeping its Iraqi agents alive underscores the challenges U.S. intelligence faced in locating the banned weapons U.S. officials claimed Iraq had. The failure to find those weapons has raised doubts about how much U.S. intelligence really knew about them before the U.S. forces invaded Iraq � and whether the administration was candid about possible weaknesses in its information.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Asia Times Central Asia

US turns to the Taliban
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Such is the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, compounded by the return to the country of a large number of former Afghan communist refugees, that United States and Pakistani intelligence officials have met with Taliban leaders in an effort to devise a political solution to prevent the country from being further ripped apart.

According to a Pakistani jihadi leader who played a role in setting up the communication, the meeting took place recently between representatives of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Taliban leaders at the Pakistan Air Force base of Samungli, near Quetta.

The source told Asia Times Online that four conditions were put to the Taliban before any form of reconciliation can take place that could potentially lead to them having a role in the Kabul government, whose present authority is in essence limited to the capital:

Mullah Omar must be removed as supreme leader of the Taliban.
All Pakistani, Arab and other foreign fighters currently engaged in operations against international troops in Afghanistan must be thrown out of the country.
Any US or allied soldiers held captive must be released.
Afghans currently living abroad, notably in the United States and England, must be given a part in the government - through being allowed to contest elections - even though many do not even speak their mother tongue, such as Dari or Pashtu.
fun game: Secret Armies of the Night -- Jun. 23, 2003 N A T I O N

Sidelined for years, U.S. special forces are changing the way America fights. An exclusive look at how they fared in the war in Iraq and how they're remaking the military

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Banker, Schmoozer, Spy

To his American friends, Ahmad Chalabi is a democrat and a paragon of Iraqi patriotism. To his enemies, he�s a crook. Does he have the stuff to reshape Iraq? A NEWSWEEK investigation

May 12 issue � In the battered precincts of Baghdad�s Hunting Club, Ahmad Chalabi holds forth on the bright future of his country and the sordid history of his enemies. The Iraqi financier and freedom fighter, just returned to his homeland after 45 years in exile, says he�s taken possession of 25 tons of documents from Saddam Hussein�s secret police, and he�s thinking how best to use them.
Ananova - New internet link downloads films in seconds New internet link downloads films in seconds

An internet connection so fast it will allow whole movies to be downloaded in just five seconds could soon be a reality.

Scientists in the US have developed a system called Fast TCP that promises to be 6,000 times faster than today's broadband links.

A key feature of Fast TCP is that it could run on the normal Internet infrastructure.
Amir Taheri on Saudi Arabia & Shiites on National Review Online Saudi Shiites
The kingdom�s apartheid.
By Amir Taheri

Officially, they do not exist. In reality, however, Saudi Arabia's Shiites account for 15 percent of the kingdom's population of 20 million.

Last month their existence was tacitly acknowledged when the state media briefly reported a meeting between a delegation of Shiites and the kingdom's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdallah Ibn Abdel-Aziz.
Those who took part in the meeting say they are bound by a vow of secrecy. But they also say that the talks, which lasted for almost four hours, were held in "a positive atmosphere."
Body of evidence shows that it pays to cover up - War on Iraq -

Most American soldiers who suffered life-threatening wounds in combat in Iraq were hit in the limbs, not the torso - a finding that suggests the body armour worn by all soldiers is remarkably effective.

The first look at the injured soldiers found that 58 per cent were wounded in the hands, feet, arms or legs. Only 9 per cent were injured in the abdomen, chest, back or groin. - Wired, lightweight and ready to kill - Jun. 4, 2003 Future soldier to have massive network
Wednesday, June 4, 2003 Posted: 10:15 AM EDT (1415 GMT)

This photo shows the 'Scorpion ensemble' future battle dress being developed at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center.


Story Tools


� 'Big Brother' watching new super diary?


� Business 2.0: Tech firms try to get their piece of homeland security

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dennis Birch compares the U.S. soldier to a Christmas tree: Whenever improvements in technology help lighten a soldier's load, someone else wants to hang on a new piece of gear like an ornament.

The result is "100 pounds of great ideas hanging off him in all different directions," Birch said.

So in its prototype for a high-tech uniform of the future, researchers at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts, have shaken all gear from the soldier and started from scratch.
'Comical Ali' kept broadcasting until the last minute - War on Iraq - 'Comical Ali' kept broadcasting until the last minute
May 5 2003

Iraq's former information minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf kept broadcasting until the last minute while Bagdad was being destroyed around him.

Then he slipped out of the door, taking off his trademark black beret, turned down his collar to hide his red general's tabs and wrapped a scarf around his head, reports said yesterday.

As the US tanks rumbled into the Iraqi capital, the man known as "Comical Ali" haunted a radio studio in Baghdad, urging engineers to carry on broadcasting Saddam Hussein's propaganda, even after his leader's statue was toppled on April 9, London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.
Wired News: Smartcams Take Aim at Terrorists Smartcams Take Aim at Terrorists

The Department of Defense believes intelligent DIVAs can fight terrorism.

This isn't about overpaid celebrities with high heels and machine guns. You can watch for those divas on The Jerry Springer Show.

These distributed digital video arrays, or DIVAs, are collections of really smart cameras able to detect and identify an individual in a crowded train station and track him wherever he goes -- out of the station, into the parking lot, onto the freeway and so on.

They also notify authorities when they "think" the individual engages in suspicious activity or meets with questionable cohorts.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iranians protest against clerics

Iranian exile TV broadcasts urged people to demonstrate
More than 1,000 people have clashed with riot police in the Iranian capital Tehran, in the first major protest against the Islamic regime for more than six months.
The action began as a demonstration by students against plans to privatise some universities, but they were joined by hundreds more people chanting slogans against the powerful Muslim clerics.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

United Press International: Commentary: Hoping Americans stay forever

BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 2 (UPI) -- It is dusk in Baghdad and I am talking to the regular group of men who gather near the house I am staying in to talk about the day's events.

"What do you think about the Americans? How long do you think they should stay? Are they doing a good job?" I ask.

The answer is very complicated while at the same time very, very simple. It is the "politically correct" thing to do to complain about the Americans, say they are not wanted and tell them to "go home."

The reality, though, is very different.

As usually happens throughout Iraq, people look around before they tell their true feelings. Simply put they are still afraid to speak the truth. Before it was Saddam, now it is the Shiites and others who frighten them.

"The Americans are doing wonderfully. We want them to stay forever," I hear.

I am not surprised. It is exactly like I thought. When I was in Iraq before the war, the reported feelings were that while the people of Iraq did not like Saddam, they would fight for their country and were against the war.

As I said then, the people wanted the war to come so they could be liberated from Saddam but were not free to talk. The same situation with a different twist exists today.

It is not widely reported, nor fashionable to say the Americans are loved and wanted in Iraq, but in fact as they were wanted before the war, they are wanted now.

"We hope they stay forever" is the true feeling of the silent majority in Iraq, contrary to what is reported.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News CoverageU.S. Seeks Ability to 'Take Down' N. Korea Quickly
Mon June 2, 2003 08:30 AM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. plans to transform allied forces at the Korean demilitarized zone would be aimed ensuring U.S. and South Korean forces could begin "taking down" the North's frontline from the first hour of a war, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday.

General Leon Laporte, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, was working on a plan which was "quite a transformation in the way both our countries would be postured," the official said.

"While we can't completely compensate for the fact that North Korea has so much stuff right up forward on the DMZ, we could begin taking it down from the first hour of the war and that would make a big difference," the official said.
The Scotsman - International - First post-Saddam elections cancelled by BritishFirst post-Saddam elections cancelled by British


BRITISH forces in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr yesterday cancelled what would have been the first democratic elections in post-war Iraq.

Amid disorder at polling booths, allegations of rampant corruption in the choosing of candidates, and locals barely aware of a vote taking place, the elections have been "postponed indefinitely".

The embarrassment follows criticisms that the armed forces should wait for professionals to organise elections in the chaos of post-war Iraq.