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Fire the perfumed princes now

Saddam captured on 12-13-03

US declares Saddam a POW

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 3-20-03, By The Associated Press

``United States launches war against Iraq

The United States launched the opening salvo Wednesday [3-19-03] night of a war to topple Saddam Hussein, firing cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs into Baghdad. U.S. officials said the Iraqi leader himself was among the targets.

Baghdad
In this image from video, a flash of light is seen in the background in Baghdad, Iraq, early today [3-20-03]. AP Photo

"This will not be a campaign of half-measures and we will accept no outcome but victory," President Bush said in an Oval Office address shortly after explosions ricocheted through the pre-dawn light of the Iraqi capital.

Anti-aircraft tracer fire arced across the Baghdad sky as the American munitions bore in on their targets. A ball of fire shot skyward after one explosion ...

Two officials knowledgeable about the operation said the Iraqi dictator was among the leadership targets that the strikes were aimed at.

It was clear from Bush's words -- he called it the opening stages of a "broad and concerted campaign" -- that the war to topple the Iraqi dictator and eliminate his weapons of mass destruction had begun ...

Bush had given Saddam 48 hours to leave the country or face war.

The ultimatum expired at 8 p.m. EST -- 4 am Thursday in Baghdad, its population shrunken in recent days by an exodus of thousands of fearful residents ...

Along with the U.S.-led force approaching 300,000 troops massed in the Persian Gulf region were 1,000 combat aircraft and five aircraft carrier battle groups. The United States claims the public or private support of 45 other nations in a coalition to topple Saddam. But only Britain, with about 40,000 troops, was making a sizable contribution to the military force ...''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 3-22-03, By The Associated Press

``Ragged Iraqi troops surrender

"A lot of them looked hungry. They haven't been fed in a while," said one U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity. He spoke after U.S. Marines and their allies took control of the strategic port city of Umm Qasr and with it, Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf. The out-classed Iraqis fought with small arms, pistols, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Authorities said the nation's southern oil fields would be secured by day's end.

Baghdad burns
BAGHDAD BURNING: A government building burns during heavy bombardment of Baghdad, Iraq, by U.S.-led forces Friday evening [3-21-03]. AP Photo

At the same time, the Army's 3rd Infantry Division surged 100 miles into Iraq. The Army's 101st Airborne Division joined the fight. Much more was to come, an extraordinary land-based armada of allied weaponry and troops was caught in an enormous traffic jam in Kuwait, ready to strike when it could cross the border ...

Australian commandos, who have been operating deep in Iraq, destroyed a command and control post and killed a number of soldiers, according to the country's defense chief, Gen. Peter Cosgrove. But often, the opponent advanced with a white flag in hand instead of a rifle.

Within a few hours of crossing into southern Iraq, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit encountered 200 or more Iraqi troops seeking to surrender. One group of 40 Iraqis marched down a two-lane road toward the Americans and gave up ...

Lt. Cmdr. Mark Johnson, a pilot returning to the USS Kitty Hawk from a mission over southern Iraq, said it appeared that Iraqi forces were withdrawing in front of advancing U.S. forces.

He could see columns of Marines moving, but there was nobody coming south to meet them. Time and again, he said, he was told to ignore targets like missile launch sites because U.S. troops had passed without any opposition ...

The bulk of the allied force hadn't even entered Iraq yet. There was a huge traffic jam at the border, thousands of vehicles parked in parallel rows, nothing but columns of trucks, humvees, oil tankers, flatbed tucks, armored vehicles and vehicles of every stripe, from horizon to horizon. The traffic was so bad that it took 61/2 hours for one unit to go 51 miles, in swirling dust.

Crossing the border Friday morning, the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Marine Infantry faced little resistance. Tanks attached to the battalion attacked five Iraqi tanks just north of the border, destroying them easily.

The battalion passed the brown, stone rubble of several buildings ... and at least five enormous pictures of a smiling Saddam Hussein, some with him wearing a robe, others with him in a headscarf, that stood intact at the border post.''

NEWS ARTICLE from United Press International, 3-21-03, By Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI Editor at Large

``AMMAN, Jordan, -- An unintended coalition of U.S. air power and Baghdad taxi drivers kept a potential flood of Iraqi refugees away from the Jordanian border Friday ...

U.S. fighter bombers took out the only gas station between Baghdad and the border, a distance of 600 kilometers ... At the same time, the few taxi drivers in Baghdad willing to run the risk of making it to the Jordanian border are charging $1,500 per passenger ...

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present.

Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start."

"They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler."

"He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head." ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 4-10-03, By The Associated Press

``Iraqis celebrate collapse of Saddam's rule [4-9-03, Day 20]

BAGHDAD, IRAQ -- Swept aside by U.S. troops who drove through the streets of Baghdad, President Saddam Hussein's government collapsed yesterday, ending three decades of ruthless Baath party rule that left behind a legacy of poverty, bitterness and tyranny.

Jubilant Iraqis toppled a statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embraced U.S. troops as liberators.

"I'm 49, but I never lived a single day. Only now will I start living," said Yussuf Abed Kazim, a mosque preacher. A young Iraqi spat on a portrait of Saddam. Men hugged Americans in full combat gear, and women held up babies so soldiers riding on tanks could kiss them.

statue

Day 20: US controls Baghdad (AP Photo/Koji Harada, Kyodo)

A giant statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is brought down by U.S. Marines as people watch the demolition in Baghdad on Wednesday April 9, 2003.

Jubilant crowds swarmed into Baghdad's streets Wednesday, dancing, looting and defacing images of Saddam Hussein as U.S. commanders declared that his regime's rule over the capital had ended.

As U.S. Army troops occupied the western bank of the Tigris River and Marines rolled into the eastern part of the city, facing only scattered resistance, thousands of Baghdad residents poured into the streets to celebrate the government's defeat and welcome the U.S. forces with scenes of thanks and jubilation ...

Volunteer fighters from Syria and other Arab lands turned up in surprising places as U.S. troops rolled to Baghdad - and some were still battling for Iraq's cause after Saddam's regime had dissolved.

U.S. soldiers found one Syrian in a refrigerator at a presidential residence near the international airport Monday. He said he and six comrades - now dead - had been dropped in and told to fight to the death for the Iraqi president. He said he had chosen concealment over martyrdom.

Fires burned in Baghdad after dark - the Ministry of Transport and Communication was ablaze - and gunfire persisted. But Pentagon officials characterized it as sporadic attacks from pockets of resistance, and said U.S. troops had been through most areas of the capital.

The feared Baath party apparatus disappeared from the streets. Its junior officials and militia fighters, once posted at every street corner and intersection, were nowhere to be seen.

For the first time, an Iraqi official conceded defeat. Mohammed al-Douri, Iraq's U.N. ambassador, said yesterday that "the game is over." ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Associated Press, 10-30-03, By Robert H. Reid

``GI deaths in occupation surpass toll at war's 'end'

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Insurgents destroyed a U.S. tank north of Baghdad, killing two U.S. soldiers, and separately wounded seven Ukrainians in the first ambush against the multinational force patrolling central Iraq, officials said yesterday. The attacks were part of a sharp increase in recent days.

U.S. policy in Iraq suffered another setback when the international Red Cross announced it was reducing its international staff in the country, two days after a suicide car bombing at its Baghdad headquarters. The humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, also announced it has pulled out workers.

The latest attacks - 233 over the last seven days, according to the U.S. military - have driven the combat death toll during the occupation above the number killed before President Bush declared an end to active combat on May 1 [2003] ...

Two U.S. soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were killed and one was wounded late Tuesday when their Abrams battle tank apparently hit a land mine near Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, a division spokeswoman.

Their deaths brought to 117 the number of U.S. soldiers killed by hostile fire since May 1. A total of 114 U.S. soldiers were killed by hostile fire between the start of the war in March and the end of April.

The Iraqi Governing Council blamed foreign fighters for the increased attacks. The council called on neighboring countries yesterday to crack down on infiltrators crossing into Iraq and to provide Iraqi authorities with information about former figures of Saddam Hussein's regime who may be hiding on their soil ...

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it would remain in Iraq but would reduce the number of international staff members - now about 30 - and increase security for those who stay. The agency has 600 Iraqi employees ...

COLUMN from The New York Times, 10-30-03, By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

``It's No Vietnam

Since 9/11, we've seen so much depraved violence we don't notice anymore when we hit a new low. Monday's [10-27-03] attacks in Baghdad were a new low. Just stop for one second and contemplate what happened: A suicide bomber, driving an ambulance loaded with explosives, crashed into the Red Cross office and blew himself up on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

This suicide bomber was not restrained by either the sanctity of the Muslim holy day or the sanctity of the Red Cross. All civilizational norms were tossed aside. This is very unnerving. Because the message from these terrorists is: "There are no limits. We have created our own moral universe, where anything we do against Americans or Iraqis who cooperate with them is O.K."

What to do? The first thing is to understand who these people are. There is this notion being peddled ... that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." These attackers are the Iraqi Vietcong.

HOGWASH! The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge -- a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis ...

Most of the troubles we have encountered in Iraq (and will in the future) are not because of "occupation" but because of "empowerment." The U.S. invasion has overturned a whole set of vested interests, particularly those of Iraq's Sunni Baathist establishment, and begun to empower instead a whole new set of actors: Shiites, Kurds, non-Baathist Sunnis, women and locally elected officials and police. The Qaeda nihilists, the Saddamists, and all the Europeans and the Arab autocrats who had a vested interest in the old status quo are threatened by this ...''

COLUMN from The Washington Post, 12-3-03, By Jim Hoagland

``Fighting a Culture of Gangsterism

There are moments in war that strip away the maneuvering, the rhetoric and the confusion that inevitably surround any conflict. One such moment occurred this week in the town of Samarra when Iraqi bandits ambushed a U.S. convoy and were repulsed with heavy losses.

They were after the money that U.S. troops were carrying to Iraqi banks.

At one basic level, the guerrilla war waged by Baathist remnants of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship is about money and privilege. The Baathists and their enormous clientele -- which stretches far outside Iraq -- have one of history's most extreme senses of entitlement ...

The warring Arab Sunnis of Iraq want the money. And they want to regain the privilege of dominating the country's other population groups.

This dead-ender sense of entitlement -- to run the country or to reduce it to ruins so that no one else can -- was underestimated by the Bush administration's intelligence, military and political leaders in the Iraq war and its immediate aftermath. Wishful thinking about Sunni generals, intelligence chiefs and scientists rallying to a post-Hussein regime was quickly punctured by an insurgency that has taken on a life of its own.

It is a misnomer to call the war against the U.S.-led coalition and its Iraqi allies a nationalist struggle. The country's majority Arab Shiite population offers tacit political cooperation to the occupation force, and the Kurdish Sunni minority is allied with the coalition. That represents three-fourths of the nation's population. This war is led and fought by a small, embittered minority of oppressors.

They long for a return to power and to riches that existed on a scale most humans find unimaginable. Oil money enabled Saddam Hussein to build a machine of repression and death as well as his palaces. He and other Arab leaders used the West's own misplaced sense of entitlement -- to cheap oil and energy to waste -- to enrich themselves and their supporters in places such as Samarra and Tikrit.

The Baathists used oil revenue to buy government officials, television executives, academics, newspaper columnists and double agents in Jordan, Syria, Egypt and other Arab countries -- and even in the West. The New York Times disclosed this week that Syrian middlemen were richly rewarded for helping the Iraqis in their attempt to buy a missile factory from North Korea ...

A tractor-trailer carrying gold bars and bundles of cash was intercepted by U.S. forces last spring as it made its way to, of all places, Syria.

The U.S.-led campaign that brought down the Baathists struck at the core of a regionwide network of corruption and repression that loots the citizens of most Arab states of liberty, dignity and the oil revenue that goes straight into the pockets of rulers. These leaders are the people U.S. administrations courted for 60 years ...

The "culture" that spawned the Saddamist dead-enders is a gangster culture. The townspeople of Samarra and Tikrit have a vested interest in restoring it. They and Iraq's Sunni Arabs in general must be convinced there is a better way to live and let live ...''

Contact Jim Hoagland at jimhoagland@washpost.com

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COLUMN from World Net Daily, 11-11-03, By Col. David Hackworth

``Fire the perfumed princes now

U.S. Army conventional brass, in their infinite wisdom, are about to throw the book at a good soldier for doing what savvy combat leaders have done since before the invention of gunpowder: deep-six the regs to protect the troops and win fights.

According to a 4th Infantry Division staff weenie, battalion skipper Lt. Col. Allen B. West violated the Rules of Interrogation, designed by a platoon of legal beagles far removed from the Iraqi killing fields of the Sunni Triangle, where West and his soldiers have been slugging it out since Saddam Hussein disappeared.

West's sin was firing two pistol shots into the air and ground while questioning an Iraqi police officer who was aiding local terrorists and putting West's soldiers in their cross hairs on a regular basis.

In my outfit, West would have gotten a pat on the back and been told to press on. But even though the double-crossing turncoat spilled his guts, enabling West's unit to ambush the ambushers, West is looking at serious slammer-time if found guilty by court-martial.

From what I've discovered, this street-smart leader used the right tactics and techniques, while his commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, played Political Correctness, a popular sport with our star-wearers and a major reason why the guerrillas are scoring so successfully in Iraq ...

The generals so eager to court-martial colonels for doing their jobs should be court-martialed themselves for not doing their duty and confronting SecDef Donald Rumsfeld before we invaded Iraq. Had they, we wouldn't be dealing with the aftermath of an inept war plan that provided neither enough troops nor sufficient command guidance to prevent the looting and violence that fueled the ever-expanding guerrilla conflict, a conflict that Col. West and other heroes have been stuck in since Commander in Chief Bush blithely declared the end of major combat in Iraq last May.

Last April, the only ministry that our forces protected was the Oil Ministry. The rest of the ministries and infrastructure were sacked while our troops looked the other way, and the Iraqi people watched the nuts and bolts of their future Iraqi government being hauled away in hijacked trucks ...

The generals should also be brought up for not fighting the dumb White House decision to disband the Iraqi army. Instead of integrating that 450,000-man force into the stabilization process, and using it for reconstruction and certain security ops, which would have helped our badly stretched troops gain control over the looters and get the country up and running, we made it our enemy. Thousands of trained and armed Iraqi soldiers couldn't make tracks fast enough to join the insurgent movement.

The conventional generals like Odierno should be replaced by mainly Special Forces leaders, both from the active and retired ranks, who comprehend the war at hand. Leaders who'd drop the silly charges against Col. West in a heartbeat so he could get on with winning his piece of this ugly war.

As for the Perfumed Princes, send them home from both Iraq and Afghanistan, another guerrilla war we're losing ...''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Associated Press, 11-27-03, By Michael McDonough

``LONDON -- The retired U.S. general who headed the first occupation government in Iraq says the decision to disband the Iraqi army was one of several major mistakes that Washington has made in Iraq.

The United States also should have put more troops into Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein and done a better job of winning support from the Iraqi people, Jay Garner said in a [BBC] radio interview aired yesterday ...

Garner arrived in Baghdad on April 21 [2003], shortly after Saddam's fall. He was replaced by L. Paul Bremer on May 12. At the time, he was criticized for not doing enough to stop the lawlessness in Baghdad.

Garner, a former lieutenant general who ran the relief mission for Kurdish refugees after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, ... criticized Bremer for disbanding the Iraqi army at a time when manpower was needed for rebuilding. The original plan was to pay the army to take part in reconstruction work ...

Bremer's decision threw hundreds of thousands of breadwinners out of work and provided potential recruits for insurgency, he said. "You're talking about around a million or more people . . . that are suffering because the head of the household's out of work," said Garner.

"And we had budgeted to pay the Iraqi army. But part of our plans said, you know, they'll surrender like they did in the first gulf war.

"Well, they didn't surrender, they just evaporated," Garner said ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 12-15-03, By Martha Irvine, Associated Press

Saddam
Saddam the Slaughterer, disciple of Stalin, made no effort to defend himself with his handgun when captured by U.S. troops near his hometown of Tikrit on Saturday, 12-13-03.

[Saddam captured on 12-13-03]

``... In Dearborn, Mich., a heavily Arab suburb of Detroit, people danced in the snowy streets, banging drums and waving Iraqi and U.S. flags ...

"Merry Christmas. This is a nice Christmas - we got him," said Naomi Jipping, a teacher in Columbus, who digested the news over coffee at a 24-hour diner.

"A lot of people aren't going to be in fear anymore." ...

Kristin Williams, who lives in New Albany, a Columbus suburb, said she found it fitting that a man she considers a coward was found hiding in a hole ...

The news was particularly sweet for Iraqi-Americans.

Fifth-grader Haneen Jelami, 10, lives across from a mosque in Dearborn and awoke yesterday to the sound of drums. Her father came upstairs to give her the news of Saddam's capture.

"I think he was a bad person," said Haneen, born in a Saudi refugee camp after her family fled Iraq. "He killed some people in my family."

For Alan Zangana, a Kurd who fled Iraq in 1981, the phone started ringing at his Chula Vista, Calif., home with people sharing the news of the capture.

"I have been waiting for this for the last 35 years," said Zangana, director of Kurdish Human Rights Watch in the San Diego suburb of El Caj" ...''

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FEATURE ARTICLE from The Center for Economic and Policy Research , 1-11-04, By Mark Weisbrot

``Washington's Past Relationship With Saddam Hussein Worth Looking At

So it looks like our Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was rather friendly with Saddam Hussein (a.k.a. The Monster) back in the 80s, when Mr. Rumsfeld was working for the Reagan Administration. This according to newly de-classified documents that were never intended to see the light of day.

Of course Mr. Hussein was "Our Monster" back then. But still it is rather striking that Rummy's mission when he met with Saddam Hussein's foreign minister was to reassure The Monster that his actual use of weapons of mass destruction -- not mere possession, but using them to kill tens of thousands of people -- would not get in the way of warmer U.S.-Iraqi relations. It was 1984 and Saddam was using chemical weapons, according to the Reagan administration's documents, "almost daily" against Iranians and Kurds.

Mr. Rumsfeld had already met with The Monster himself back in 1983. He was sent back to Iraq in 1984 to make it clear that Washington's interests in "continuing to improve bilateral relations with Iraq, at a pace of Iraq's choosing, remain undiminished" in spite of these daily atrocities. These were the written instructions that Rumsfeld received as special envoy of the Reagan Administration ...

The new documents were discovered by the non-profit National Security Archives and reported last week in the New York Times and Washington Post. They corroborate previous reports in the Times that the United States provided Iraq with battle planning assistance, and other military and intelligence support, at the time that Iraq was using chemical weapons in its war with Iran ...

But all of this is history, which in America is synonymous with forgotten. Which is why the Bush administration will do everything possible to make sure that Hussein is not brought before an international tribunal, where there is a greater chance that he could implicate some of his former friends and allies in Washington.

This is not just a matter of suffering embarrassment for being friends with monsters. Among the crimes that Saddam could be tried for is killing people with chemical weapons. In an honest judicial proceeding, Rumsfeld and his superiors could be named and indicted as co-conspirators ...''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-11-04, By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press

``Iraqis fear POW status may prevent Saddam trial

BAGHDAD, IRAQ -- Iraqi officials expressed fears Saturday [1-10-04] that a Pentagon Decision to declare Saddam Hussein a prisoner of war will prevent them from putting the ousted dictator on trial ...

POW status under the Geneva Conventions grants Saddam certain rights, including access to visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross and freedom from coercion of any kind during interrogations ...

"I am surprised by this decision," said Dara Nor al-Din, a former appeals court judge and member of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council. "We still consider Saddam a criminal, and he will be tried on this basis. This new move will be discussed thoroughly in the Governing Council." ''

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