Over the past five months, enemy tactics have turned squarely against U.S. and Iraqi troops. As sectarian killings and kidnappings have fallen by about 70 percent in Diyala, attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops have increased by a corresponding amount, according to Col. David W. Sutherland, the top U.S. commander in the province. At least 46 soldiers from his 5,000-member 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division have been killed since they arrived in November.
The above, noted by Martha, is from Joshua Partlow's "U.S. Bolstering Force in Deadly Diyala" (Washington Post) which is also echoed in Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Attacks Surge as Iraq Militants Overshadow City" in this morning's New York Times:
They maneuver in squads, like the American infantrymen they try to kill. One squad fires furiously so another can attack from a better position. They operate in bad weather, knowing American helicopters and surveillance drones are grounded. Some carry G.P.S. receivers so mortar teams can calculate the coordinates of American armored vehicles. They kidnap and massacre police officers.
The Sunni guerrillas and extremists who now overshadow this city demonstrate a sophistication and lethality born of years of confronting American military tactics. While the “surge” plays out in Baghdad just 35 miles to the south, Baquba has emerged as a magnet for insurgents from around the country and, perhaps, the next major headache for the American military.
Some insurgents have moved into Baquba to escape the escalation in Baghdad. But the city has been attracting insurgents for years, particularly after American officials in Baghdad proclaimed it and surrounding Diyala Province relatively pacified over a year ago and drew down their troop presence.
[. . .]
There are many reasons for the mayhem. Diyala and Baquba had significant Shiite and Sunni populations. Shiite-dominated security forces in the city inflamed tensions by persecuting Sunnis, but remain ill prepared to fight the insurgents without support of American forces.
"The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs." Familiar? Tom Hayden (via The Huffington Post) pointing out reality.
The US (as planned from the start) urged the divide, encouraged the divide. At some point, people really are going to have to ask, "Who are we funding? What are we funding?" A lot's been made of the fact that US service members are in the midst of a civil war, little of the fact that the White House planned such a war. And the thinking still hasn't reached up to (I'm speaking on the ground), "Who's being killed? Why are they being killed? Who's being targeted?" Other questions that are very disturbing. Ava and I addressed that last week when we were speaking with students. Those who get the print edition of the Times, turn to A8 for the photo that goes with Oppel's article. The one by Eros Hoagland (Times photographer) with the caption: "An Iraqi woman stood in the courtyard of her home in Baquba in March while Iraqi and American soldiers searched it for weapons." If you get the print edition, notice her face. That's a front page photo, every emotion on her face, but it's inside the paper (and running late, but better late than never). Again, Eros Hoagland was the photographer.
On the issue of refugees, Dahr Jamail's site has footage of Iraqis who have fled to Damascus --QuickTime player required and, as noted, it is free, the bigger issue for many members on Monday morning will be whether administrative priv. allow them to install it or not.
From David Swanson's AfterDowningStreet, Marci notes "PLEASE JOIN US FOR AN HISTORIC DEBATE ABOUT IMPEACHMENT AND THE IRAQ WAR:"
ON THE FLOOR OF THE WASHINGTON STATE SENATE ON THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH, 11:00AM. RALLY 10:00 AM.
We have one more week to move SJM 8016 to a vote in the Washington State Senate. WE CANNOT LET DEMOCRACY QUIETLY SLIP AWAY. Democratic leadership can still move SJM 8016, Senator Oemig's bill to investigate President Bush and Vice President Cheney, to the floor for a vote, if they choose. Our intention in this campaign is to send our memorial to the US Congress, not to let our bill rot in committee. We need to send out a flood of calls and emails to members of the Washington State Senate, asking them to move SJM 8016 to a vote. It is not enough for our Senators to say that they will vote "if SJM 8016 makes it to the floor." We must urge them to actively advocate for a vote, and to lobby their colleagues in favor of SJM 8016 as well. We need your help this week, to convince leadership to move SJM 8016 to a vote. Here is how you can help:
1. Email or call State Senate leadership today.Urge them to provide leadership by moving SJM 8016 to the floor for a vote. Please tell them that we can't wait until the next legislative session to call the Bush Administration into account. With our current constitutional crisis, we must insist that our Senators exercise their power and influence to support and protect the US Constitution. Remind then that their sworn oath to defend the Constitution is their only oath of office, and their highest calling as a public official. The eyes of the country are upon them now. SJM 8016 may be the most important legislation they vote on in their entire career. The fate of our country deserves their dedicated efforts now. We want our Senators to go on record now with their votes. We need to send this message daily to all of our Senators. Here are emails for leadership:
2. Contact Governor Christine Gregoire.Ask her to support SJM 8016 by letting Democratic leadership know that she wants them to move SJM 8016 to a vote. Ask her kindly to honor her own oath of office and to use her influence now to restore rule of law in this country. We ask her to protect us from the abuses of the Bush Administration. Governor Gregoire has not received enough communication on this issue. Let Governor Gregoire know that opposition to SJM 8016 would show she does not vigorously support the US Constitution. We want a vote on SJM 8016 so we know where our Legislators stand. Help us flood her office with calls and emails all week long:
Governor's website contact:http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/Governor's phone:(360) 902-4111
3. PLEASE COME TO THE STATE CAPITOL IN OLYMPIA TO ATTEND THE DEBATE ON APRIL 19TH AT 11:00.We will gather to rally at 10:00 am. Our March 1st rally in Olympia had 500 people. Let's make this one 1,000 and let the world know that democracy lives in Washington state. As the second state to call for impeachment through our state legislature, we are providing hope and leadership for the rest of the country. We must keep pushing ahead, and keep impeachment "on the table". Every day that we make our voices heard, we win another step toward restoring democracy.
Please arrange for transportation with people from your community. We are asking that people sitting in the Senate gallery wear something "Guantanamo orange." (Since signs are not allowed in the Senate gallery, we will alert our Senators to our presence by wearing orange.)
Thank you for your timely response to this call to action. Your commitment to the practice of Democracy has inspired me personally, and given me hope that the good people of this country will prevail.
Washington For Impeachment
Lloyd notes that Kurt Vonnegut passed away and we noted it via Democracy Now! headlines. He doesn't feel it's getting the attention it deserves and thinks one of the few people who's written something worth reading is Matthew Rothschild. This is from Rothschil's "Vonnegut Made Life More Bearable" (The Progressive):
I heard the news this morning: Kurt Vonnegut is dead.
What a loss to all of us who are for peace, to all of us who worry about the fate of the world, and to all of us who wrestle with our existential plight.
"We are here on Earth," said Vonnegut once, "to fart around."
It was that wryness and dryness that kept drawing me back to Vonnegut.
He was always reader friendly, advising writers to act as though they're on a first date, and try, at least once in a while, to entertain.
Ever idiosyncratic, he had semicolonitis and tried to blot out that punctuation mark from the language. He also tended to end his observations and ruminations with the coda: "So it goes."
Today, if you've missed it (it's airing on KPFA and many stations right now), Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn are the guests for the hour on Democracy Now! (not 1/2 with Chomsky, 1/2 with Zinn, they're on together being interviewed by Amy Goodman). As Ruth noted Saturday:
" In fact, Ms. Goodman will be at Boston's Faneuil Hall this Monday for an event with Howard Zinn that starts at 7:00 pm. I would urge everyone to, 'Be there'." That's today.
Ruth's Report went up Saturday night and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Limited Engagement" went up Sunday (for those who don't have access on the weekends). Thanks to Jonah (who does have weekend access but was thinking of other members) for e-mailing this morning to remind me to include that.
Almost lastly, tomorrow KPFA will broadcast (live) the Alberto Gonzales testimony. This falls under the umbrella of Gonzales, FYI, Larry Bensky will host (begins at 6:00 am PST). Other Pacifica stations may broadcast it live as well. Rebecca's been covering the Gonzales' scandal at her site. Susan e-mailed about Rebecca. She is curious about tomorrow's news. Gonzales? Rebecca's upcoming birth. Tomorrow, Rebecca and Flyboy (Mike gave him that nickname) find out the gender -- if they don't change their mind. Again. Rebecca's offered to share that news in an e-mail. Susan imagines it's a long list already and doesn't want to add to it. She wondered if it could be noted in the gina & krista round-robin on Friday? Rebecca says yes, not a problem. Susan makes a good point, a number of people probably are e-mailing (Rebecca was doing a slow wake up with morning tea -- that more than giving up cigarettes is -- has been the hardest thing -- she's used to her morning pots -- POTS, plural -- of coffee). So if you are wanting to know, it'll be in the round-robin. (Susan's referring to the comments made in "Mailbag.")
Lastly, in "10 CDs listened to while writing this edition," Mike mentions (or is mentioned as having) two favorite tracks on the Albert Hammond, Jr.'s Yours To Keep. What were they, wondered George? "Cartoon Music for Superheroes" (first track) and "101" (track six) were Mike's two favorites.
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