August 3rd, 2004

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U.S. declares war on Shi'ite and Sunni fundamentalists... again.

Not content to engage one enemy at a time, U.S. forces in Iraq are inciting new confrontations with two at once.

U.S. forces today arrested Dr. Muthanna Harith al-Dhari, information director for The Association of Islamic Scholars and son to Sheik al-Dhari, the president of the committee and Sunni Islam's loudest voice in Iraq.

The cleric became a hero in Fallujah, the heart of the Anbar insurgency, for running aid convoys and ushering refugees to safety. He has also developed a reputation as the person to contact in order to negotiate the peaceful return of foriegn hostages. His organization does not recognize the legitimacy of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi government.

At the same time, U.S. forces fought with followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, possibly trying to arrest him... this after arresting the head of al-Sadr's office in Karbala.

It is not known whether the dual confrontation was intentional, but by pressuring the most important leaders of both major sources of resistance in Iraq, the U.S. are tempting fate once again and risk inciting another significant, large-scale uprising.
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Franks talks on Iraq.

General Tommy Franks, commanding general in charge of the invasion of Iraq, is releasing his memoirs shortly, but despite his support for the goals of the war, he has some things to say that won't help either Rumsfeld or the Bush administration much. He's given numerous interviews lately for his book, which I have compiled for this post.

One of the key points of Franks' memoirs is his struggle to run the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with Rumsfeld breathing down his neck. At one point, Franks threatened to quit.

"Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, we'd become accustomed to the demands of Secretary Rumsfeld. But now even my industrious planners found that the daily barrage of tasks and questions was beginning to border on harassment."

Franks noted the failure of Mr. Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, to ease the chronic tensions between their two departments. "On far too many occasions the bureaucracy fought like cats in the sack."

"I wish Don Rumsfeld had had an easier, less-centralised management style ... I, and I suspect a lot of other people, would have had a whole lot better feeling undertaking these very important matters if Don Rumsfeld had been a very concerned people-person."

Franks also is unsparing in his criticism of Pentagon officials such as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, whom he derides as the "dumbest . . . guy on the planet."

Franks also makes it clear that he expected the president to round up a great deal more international support that he did, and that when it came to forming a coalition, the Bush administration didn't deliver.

According to Franks, Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo op was intentionally designed to signify the end of hostilities -- a statement which directly contradicts what Bush told reporters. The Bush administration apparently believed that having announced victory, other nations would line up behind them to assist in the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq. Somehow, they were blind to the degree of ill-will they aroused amongst our former allies through their unilateral actions.

"That was not so everyone could have a victory lap. We'd been given to believe that once major hostilities were over, we would have lots and lots more help from the international community."

Gen. Franks also mentions that before the war, Gen. Jay Garner, the man appointed as the first, short-term director of reconstruction efforts in Iraq, had had to spend weeks "walking the corridors of Washington, hat in hand. He needed people and money."

Within his own command, Franks writes, "we had neither the money nor a comprehensive set of policy decisions that would provide for every aspect of reconstruction, civic action and governance."

Most damningly, however, Franks warned Rumsfield that a quick victory could lead to a "catastrophic success", with the United States left unprepared for postwar anarchy in Iraq.

"We will have to stand up a new Iraqi army and create a constabulary that includes a representative tribal, religious and ethnic mix. It will take time."

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agreed, but Franks was denied the funding he needed to put Saddam's soldiers on the new Iraqi government's payroll.

"If what we're after is to get reconstruction going, then that simply represents 250,000 angry young men .... We would have been wise to (call the Iraqi army back to duty), and in my view we should have done that."

"Penny wise will surely be pound foolish, I thought. We will spend dollars today . . . or blood tomorrow."

Gen. Franks said he now expects U.S. forces to remain in Iraq for up to five years.

Meanwhile, officials in Egypt and Jordan on Monday denied an account in Gen. Franks' book that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah had told him Iraq had chemical and biological weapons.

Asked about this year's election, Gen. Franks respects President Bush, but prefers to stay on the sidelines.

"I have no interest in politics. The way I'm going to mark my individual ballot I'll keep to myself."
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Trucking Son-of-a-...

Turkey's top trucking association says that it is stopping deliveries to U.S. forces in Iraq, after Islamic militants released footage of a Turkish hostage being shot dead.

The chairman of the Istanbul-based International Truckers Association, Cahit Soysal, said he hoped the company's decision to pull out of Iraq would help save the lives of at least two Turkish truck drivers believed to be held by militants.

Up to 300 Turkish trucks carrying food, drinking water, special aircraft fuel and other supplies to US forces cross into Iraq every day. "As of today, they no longer will be," Mr Soysal said. Turkey's truck fleet makes up approximately 14% of all trucks servicing Iraq.

The wife of the murdered Turkish hostage, Murat Yuce, said her husband had gone to Iraq to help pay off the family's credit card debts.

"One month's instalment was all that remained and then he was going to return ... He would have died for his children and this is effectively what happened," she said.
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The President is on drugs, maaan!

Wow. If this story turns out to be true, it will be ass feeding day at the White House...!

An article from a well-known Washington D.C. news source says that President George W. Bush recently started taking antidepressants to control erratic behavior, depression and paranoia. The prescription drugs were administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, and can impair the President's mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis.

Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

"Keep those motherfuckers away from me," he screamed at an aide backstage. "If you can't, I'll find someone who can."

One long-time GOP political consultant who - for obvious reasons - asked not to be identified said he is advising his Republican Congressional candidates to keep their distance from Bush.

"We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the United States is loony tunes," he says sadly. "That's not good for my candidates, it's not good for the party and it�s certainly not good for the country."

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Don't get me wrong... I think it's a *GOOD* thing for people with a problem to take anti-depressants if they need it. That said, the *LAST* thing I want in a president is for them to go through the guesswork that is finding the right meds while in office. I also think that we, as citizens, should have the right to know about the President's physical and mental fitness to perform the job at hand, as it can directly effect our vote.