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November 23, 2005

“As They Stand Up….”
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 08:45 AM * 54 comments

Sunni sheik, family members slain

Gunmen dressed as Iraqi troops stormed the home of a senior Sunni leader Wednesday, killing him, his three sons and a son-in-law, Iraqi police said. Neighbors told authorities that at least 10 Iraqi army vehicles stopped outside the western Baghdad house of Kadhim Sarheed Ali al-Dulami in the early hours of the morning.

Is there any reason at all to assume that these weren’t actual Iraqi troops, not play-acting insurgents “dressed as Iraqi troops”?

Those of us who recall the death squads of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have a pretty good idea what’s going on here.

Is this the first time we’ve seen death squads in Iraq? Hardly. From 27SEP05:

Five Shiite Teachers Killed in Iraq

In Iraq, five Shiite school teachers died Monday after gunmen dressed as police officers burst into their school, seized them and shot them in an empty classroom. The killings took place in a Sunni suburb of Baghdad.

If George and his pals want to know more, they can ask John Negroponte. I’m sure he can fill them in.

Comments on "As They Stand Up....":
#1 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 09:30 AM:

Is there any reason at all to assume that these weren’t actual Iraqi troops, not play-acting insurgents “dressed as Iraqi troops”

Is there any reason to assume that the two sets do not intersect?

#2 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 10:07 AM:

I'm reasonably sure that when Iraqi squadies are personally shooting at US troops, or when they are planting roadside bombs, that they dress in civilian clothes.

#3 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 10:26 AM:

So, they're play-acting Iraqi troops dressed as insurgents?

#4 ::: Beth Meacham ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 10:50 AM:

You mean this John Negroponte? The one who was US Ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005, and is now Director Of Intelligence?

I suspect that he knows all about the new Iraqi death squads. I bet Dick and Rummy do too.

#5 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 11:48 AM:

I thought that practically all Iraqi troops were play-acting.

#6 ::: Meredith ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 11:50 AM:

So here's the dilemma: when we pull out of Iraq (and I'm choosing to be optimistic today and say "when" not "if"), will these death squads stop or multiply?

I fear the answer to that question.

#7 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 11:59 AM:

Death squads work well, my friends, they really do. Much, MUCH better than old-school occupation. Ask Mr. Pinochet, who will probably die in his own bed.

I really don't know why Cheney went back to the European colonial methods (a bit of post 9/11 euphoria?) but everybody will certainly be better off if the US resume their best cold-war style of genocide-by-proxy. Everybody except Iraqis, of course, but do we really care?

#8 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 01:00 PM:

Yes, ten vehicles means at minimum 10 bad guys, probably a couple score.

If by some chance they are insurgents in stolen/liberated Iraqi Army uniforms and vehicles, then our occupation faces a horrific IFF problem.

"We must stay the course to forestall an Iraqi civil war".

We seem to already be in the middle of one.

Bush has led us into defeat. The only question now is when we leave.

#9 ::: Anne KG Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 02:06 PM:

So far as I've heard, there is a problem with insurgents joining the military or the police in Iraq - they get free training and equipment, and find out who the loyal police are so they can arrange to kill them...

I doubt this was an official police action... it sounds like an action intended to make the police look bad while also forwarding some other agenda. But it could certainly have involved people who are, in fact, police. And they could also be "insurgents" - these people don't wear labels you know.

However I would tend to disagree with Bob's reference to an Iraqi civil war. From what I've heard from the front, a *lot* of the so-called insurgents are imported terrorists from other countries. Having people like that fight over control of your country doesn't seem to me to qualify as a civil war.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 02:13 PM:

On the other hand, having a bunch of foreigners (invaders or otherwise) holding a war in your country makes good cover for settling local grievances. (If the action can be blamed on some third party, it's even better.)

#11 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 02:28 PM:

Anne: you're obviously reading different sources from me -- according to Juan Cole, there are actually very few foreign insurgents, but it serves the interests of all the major factions in Iraq right now to pretend that the killing's being done by outsiders. (The Sunni factions -- notably the ex-Ba'ath groups -- can claim it's Al Qaida who are killing all those Shi'ites and therefore reprisals against the Sunnis would be pointless, and the government and the USA can claim it's outsiders and that Iraq is tranquil otherwise.)

The war was lost about two months before the land invasion began, when the White House tore up the detailed State Department proposals for how to govern the country afterwards.

#12 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 02:30 PM:

Anne KG Murphy: From what I've heard from the front, a *lot* of the so-called insurgents are imported terrorists from other countries.

Well, the last actual statistic I've seen on this was probably 6 months or a year ago - but at the time, our own Central Command was saying that 2%(!) of the insurgents they had captured were foreign-born. It may be somewhat higher today, but I think the administration is relying on the old RW claim that trouble is caused by "outside agitators".

On the other hand, 100% of the Occupation is non-Iraqi.

#13 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 04:12 PM:

I think a problem here is one of categorization. There's no clear delineation between insurgent and Iraqi soldier. They're practically synonyms. And can you blame them?

If someone invaded the US, and told everyone in the active military to go home and get a job as a plumber, where do you think they'd go? Hell, there'd be a bus picking them up at the barracks and dropping them off at the militia headquarters of their choice. And then, a year later, when the occupying government started recruiting for a new army, who would be the first to join up?

"No, Sergeant, I'm not that Corporal Smith, formerly of the Army Rangers, Sergeant. Must be some other Smith with commando training, Sergeant. You know us Americans, we all look alike, Sergeant."

#14 ::: Fledgist ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 04:15 PM:

Now, why do these episodes make me think of Vietnam?

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 04:30 PM:

"why do these episodes make me think of Vietnam?"

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does kind of rhyme.

#16 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2005, 07:38 PM:

There have been a couple stories in the media about the Volcano Brigades. If these are accurate (and remember, that the Abu Giraib stories first popped up in european and scandal papers before they hit the main stream press), and if they are like the US trained and equipped ElSalvadoran Death Squads, then 90% of the people dieing in Iraq are dieing on our nickel. The reconcilliation commission in El Salvador determined that 90% of the dead were killed by the death squads. The reagan administration believed that the rebels were supported by the Sandinistas, which lead the Reagan Empire to wage a private war (against the laws of this country, remember the Boland Amendment?) with funding from selling weapons to Iran (also against the laws of this country). You remember Iran-Contra? And perhaps this explains why so many Iran-Contra people are working for this administration.

The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

January 2005 Newsweek article where Rumfeld talks about the El Salvador Option

Abu Ghirab stories first break in non-US and in so-called non-respectable papers.
RightWingResponseThey Hate America!
Almost a year later, the Abu Ghirab stories break in NY Times and WaPo.
RightWingResponseWe knew about that last year? What's news about this?

One such group, the Volcano Brigade, is operating as a death squad, under the influence or control of Iraq's most potent Shia factional militia, the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, said several Iraqi government officials and western Baghdad residents.

In the past six months, Badr has heavily infiltrated the Interior Ministry, under which the commandos operate, the sources said. Badr also was accused of running the secret Interior Ministry prison raided Sunday by U.S. troops.
About 2 a.m. on Aug. 23, men in Volcano Brigade uniforms and trucks rolled into the streets of Dolay, a mixed Sunni-Shia neighborhood of western Baghdad, residents say. "I got a call from my cousins" around the corner, said Ahmed Abu Yusuf, 33, an unemployed Sunni. "They told me to stay hidden because the Volcano were in the streets, arresting Sunnis."
For three hours, the raiders burst into Sunni homes, handcuffed dozens of men and loaded them into vans. They ended the assault and drove out of the neighborhood just before the dawn call to prayer, which would bring men into the streets, walking to the local mosques, Abu Yusuf said.
Two days later and 90 miles away, residents of the desert town of Badrah, near the Iranian border, found the bodies of 36 of the men in a gully, their hands still bound and their skulls shattered by bullets. Two were the cousins who had phoned him the warning, Abu Yusuf said.
Newsday Article
#17 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 06:16 AM:

I can easily imagine a bloody civil war in Iraq after the U.S troops leave -- and the outcome is more or less given.

The Sunni minority vs. Kurds and Shi'ites... the Sunnis are going to be massacred, and the world will stand by and watch and say it's "terrible", just like with Rwanda in the 1990s. The only thing that prevents this genocide is the U.S.troop presence, but it won't last forever...

I can't say I reproach America for at least TRYING to avert genocide.

#18 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 06:34 AM:

ARY: I can't say I reproach America for at least TRYING to avert genocide.

This implies you believe the postulated genocide would have happened had the US not invaded Iraq in the first place.

What short memories we have.

#19 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 11:12 AM:

I remember this:
1. Saddam Hussein waging a pointless long war against Iran in the 1980s, with enormous casualties;

2. Saddam Hussein destroying the wetlands in southern Iraq, ruining the livelihoods of the native peoples there;

3. Saddam Hussein gassing and massacring Kurds (was it tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands? That I don't know).

My memory is long. Genocide was on the agenda before the Americans entered Iraq, and perhaps the Iran-Iraq War distracted Saddam from his long-term agenda to crush Sunni and Kurd resistance -- that, and his lust for Kuwaiti oil fields. He was "my enemy's enemy" (i.e. a buffer between Iran and Saudi Arabia) until he "outlived his usefulness."

And now what? Tribal bloodlust for a while - the Sunnis will lose, many are probably going to escape to Saudi Arabia - and then, hopefully, the beginnings of democracy.

If the superpowers do nothing, events will play out to their conclusion, and we can look comfortably look away, shake our heads and say "They're such barbarians".
If the superpowers do intervene, we in the West have to suffer the inconvenience of bodybags shown on TV. In any case, my country isn't involved, so I have no stake.


#20 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 02:24 PM:

I, too, remember the 1980s like they were 2003, man.

#21 ::: almostinfamous ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 02:58 PM:

ARY, do you also remember good old donnie mc don don rumsfeld shaking hands with the evil and terrible saddam hussein who was encouraged in the I-I war to use Made in the USA weapons? and what was the deal with the shah of iran? oh and before i forget, ollie north did something too, didn't he?

to me, it just seems like we are all living in a bad tom clancy novel.

#22 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 08:10 PM:

Stefan Jones wrote:

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does kind of rhyme."

That's pretty good. You should try to patent that.

#23 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 10:11 PM:

"You should try to patent that."

It's been around a while. I would have given attribution but I'm not sure who came up with it first.

#24 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2005, 10:30 PM:

Stefan Jones wrote:

It's been around a while.


Eh, who cares? Try this:

#!/bin/perl

print("History doesn't repeat itself, but it does kind of rhyme.\n");

Seriously--print it out and mail it in. Your grandchildren will thank you. (I get 15%, of course).

#25 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2005, 03:53 AM:

Once you get "tribal bloodlust" restarted, I'm not sure that you can stop it, or rely on the society spontaneously returned to the habits of civilisation. Look at Northern Ireland, which didn't get its infrastructure smashed, and had, in relation to population, a much greater law-enforcement presence, and a continuity of government function.

And Iraq has arguably been worse than the post-WW1 chaos in Ireland. I just can't imagine ObL and GWB meeting as Michael Collins and Winston Churchill did, and comparing their "Wanted!" posters.

There is, incidentally, newsreel film from the Siege of Sidney Street which shows WSC at the scene, and a bullet striking the tophat of the man standing behind him. He had other close shaves, and a Churchill-free alternate history is quite possible.

#26 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2005, 10:30 PM:

ARY: uh, Saddam was putting down the Shia, not the Sunni. One of the many ironies of this is that the U.S. took the side of religious reactionaries against a largely secular regime.

#27 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 07:01 AM:

CHip: why is this particularly inexplicable? Given Bush's tendency to defer to anyone who can wrap themselves in their god, I'd be surprised if he willingly had any truck with secularists of any stripe. ("They're god-fearing therefore they'll be obedient" cuts across religious boundaries.)

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 08:34 AM:

What are the bets that Georgie Porgie and Pals declare that the War Has Been Won and get out before the 2006 elections, but at the same time will claim that they aren't Cutting and Running like those wicked Democrats (soft on terrorism, every one of 'em) want to do?

#29 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 01:27 PM:

Take a look at a post today in Joshua Michaels' Talking Points Memo. Taking his cue from an article in the LA Times, he essentially asserts that Hey nonny no, we're outa there as soon as Bush and his pals can figure out how to declare victory. By November 2006 I am sure there will be fewer American soldiers in Iraq then there are today. My question is, at what point during that withdrawal of our troops do the Iraqis tip into civil war? Certainly the Bushies will want to put that off as long as possible. Is there a chance that civil war might not happen?

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 01:52 PM:

What are the chances they aren't in a civil war already?

#31 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 02:02 PM:

If it looks like a civil war, and sounds like a civil war, and people of one country are killing other people of the same country, then, yes, I'd say it's a civil war.

And from the experience we had in this country, it's going to be several generations after the fighting ends, before the war is really over.

#32 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 02:02 PM:

If you are again pointing to the fact that Sunnis and Shias are killing each other -- yes, I see it. But they are not at massacre stage yet. I think it will happen when we leave. I am thinking in terms of Bosnia, or, God help us, Rwanda.

They will reap the whirlwind that George Bush sowed.

#33 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 06:36 PM:

PJ Evans, I live in northern Virginia, and I can tell you that the Late Unpleasantness is still around.

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 06:57 PM:

I can see it -- a hundred years hence, a grill in Baghdad with a painting on the wall of an insurgent toting an RPG and a slogan in Arabic: "Forget, Hell!"

#35 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 07:16 PM:

Occasionally, the local paper prints a letter to the editor that appears to be from an alternate timeline where every Administration bullet point is the read deal. Example:

Iraq is liberated. Schools are being built. Woman can vote. There is a whole new dynamic in the Middle East.

And etcetera.

I wonder how bad things will have to get before this kind of heavily filtered worldview becomes untenable.

#36 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 08:48 PM:

Stefan: Woman can vote. Unfortunately for Iraq, the woman in question is Condoleeza Rice.

#37 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2005, 09:02 PM:

Charlie: note that I said ironic, not inexplicable. But I suppose it's also inexplicable given the administration line about "'Muslim'/'Islamic' terrorists", and the Iranian connections of many of the groups introduced to power (given the attitude toward Iran since they tossed the U.S.'s puppet), and the fact that Bush et al. actually \don't/ "defer to anyone who can wrap themselves in their god" -- it has to be the Western Christian God and politically aligned with Bush. (cf recent IRS attacks on liberal churches for -"political actions"- where the reactionary Roman Catholic dioceses around here are permitted to run petition drives in-house.)

#38 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2005, 10:18 AM:

Everybody in iraq over the age of 7 or so remembers Saddam and his secret police and torturers. Say something in public criticising Saddam when an informer hears you, and you could have your ears cut off or worse.

Now they believe those days are back. How long before the polls start showing that iraqis love us and want us to do whatever we want to them?

Can you imagine polling under Saddam? "Hello, I'm an independent pollster, no connection to the secret police, and I'd like to ask you some questions about your political opinions. I promise your answers will be 100% anonymous."

#39 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2005, 10:29 AM:

Marilee: I know that. It hasn't been long enough yet, in my opinion. (One of my great-grandfathers was on the March to the Sea. A great-great-grandfather got killed by some CSA raiders. We haven't forgotten yet.) Maybe another fifty or sixty years will help. Of course, we won't be around then.

#40 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 02:49 AM:

can we disemvowel dagh?

#41 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 04:27 AM:

As confirmation to Marilee, I grew up in Northern Virginia, where my eighth-grade history teacher always referred to the late unpleasantness as "The War of Northern Aggression". Considering that most of the rest of Virginia doesn't even consider Northern Virginia to be properly part of the same state, being too Yankified and blueish, I hate to think of how the meme is propagated even further south of the Mason-Dixon line.

#42 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 06:01 AM:

Would someone please take pity on my ignorance, and enlighten me as to what the heck that post by dagh originally was? Was it spam? Or what?

#43 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 06:54 AM:

According to Google, if dagh's text was intended to be in simplified Chinese characters, the English rendering is "Padding fermentation pot heat conduction oil"; since it doesn't translate properly in Japanese encoding ("Filler? ~{=M~} can? Oil"?) and Google doesn't have an option for nonsimplified traditional Chinese, I guess that's all we have to go on.

(No, I'm not clicking on dagh's links. You do it.)

#44 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 08:05 AM:

"Padding fermentation pot heat conduction oil"

Secret Agents of the Chinese government report that in attempting to cure his addiction to cheap booze and marijuana by conquering a petroleum rich nation President Bush has jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire, in preparing for his jump Mr. Bush wanted to stress that it was not a codpiece that he was wearing and that he was naturally manly, in contrast to whatever his parentage or patronym might have led one to assume.

#45 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 08:18 AM:

Babelfish does traditional Chinese as well as simplified Chinese.

On the plus side, none of those links lead to Nekkid Gurlz or Texas Fold-em Pokker.

On the minus side, none of those links seem to have anything to do with current events in Iraq -- they seem to be advertising cooking oil.

So out they go....

#46 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 08:31 AM:

They're definitely simplified Chinese characters. I might quibble that it's "can" (or "jar") rather than "pot," but given that it looks like the kind of chaff that spammers throw up in an attempt to get past Bayesian filters, I figure the semantic content is moot.

I haven't clicked on the links either. I'm assuming that they're not work safe.

#47 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 09:43 AM:

You'll forgive my cynicism but...

How many Americans really care if there is a civil war in Iraq, even if we bear some of the responsibility for it? I second, and amplify, Jim's prediction: As it becomes increasingly untenable for US troops to stay in Iraq, the administration will get out - before the next election, and with appropriate spin coverage. The coverage of Iraq on American networks and newspapers will decrease in direct proportion to the number of American troops left. Iraq will continue to devolve into civil war, but American attention will have already moved on to the next celebrity crisis, or murder of a pretty and pregnant woman, or whatever trivia.

As of the end of the first year of the Iraq war, there was excellent epidemiological evidence for nearly 100 000 excess deaths, about half of those directly attributable to coalition forces (link to PubMed abstract of Lancet article). Given that Americans don't seem to care much about those deaths, it's hard for me to feel that Americans will get too terribly worked up about being responsible for a civil war once our troops leave. And if American voters don't care about it, I can't imagine anyone in the political system caring about it.

#48 ::: Anne KG Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 03:54 PM:

Charlie, you're right we're looking at different sources, but I was also misreading my source, a debriefed US soldier, who spent spent 7 months at "Camp Blue Diamond" in Ramadi. His father's report of his debrief of his son said "Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly "foreigners", non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in "sacrifice squads". Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.) These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian), are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters."

but then went on to say,

"In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. [...] Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago."

While I would agree that the current situation is largely of our own making, I would also agree that the current presence of coalition forces is helping prevent genocide. I wish our administration were of the sort that would encourage a completely secular government, but I'm afraid it is not. Still, schools and hospitals are being built, power and other services are being restored. That's good progress, it just doesn't mean we really have a plan.

#49 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2005, 04:11 PM:

"The main problem is that there are too many foreigners in Iraq."

- Paul Wolfowitz

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2005, 11:16 AM:

Billmon, over at Whiskey Bar on "The Salvadoran Option."

I disagree with one bit:

But now that the Salvadoran Option is up and running -- very smoothly, by all accounts -- one can wonder why the Americans suddenly changed their mind, and busted down the doors of one of SCIRI's secret prisons the other day.

Did things get out of hand, ala Abu Ghraib? (Ala the entire war, for that matter.) Or was the Death Squad Program-Related Activities Bureau ordered to switch gears, once the Finding a Political Solution to the Insurgency Department finally realized that sending Shi'a death squads out to torture and kill Sunni politicians, their bodyguards and their supporters was a bit counterproductive? These kind of bureacratic snafus happen.

I think that what happened there was that the locals figured out how to get the Americans involved: Tell the Americans that the building held an insurgent/terrorist cell. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior hadn't told the US Army what the building was, that they owned it, or what was going on in it, so our guys took it, and found what was inside.

Most of our troops are decent people who are doing their jobs and have no interest in "riding with the bad boys," so took appropriate action: Medical care for the torture victims, and telling the world what they'd found.

#51 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2005, 12:58 PM:

James, I think that the 2 most likely scenarios for the expose are:
1 - The locals knew what the place was, that nothing was being done about it, but by "informing" the military that it was a insurgent/terrorist house, it would promptly be raided.
2 - The administration knew about the place, and blew the whistle on it solely to divert attention away from the white phosphorous issue.

In support of #2:

American troops, he [Hakim] said, had been in the building where the prison was discovered "four times a week."
Washington Post article, where Hakim basically says that the civil war is only going to get worse, as in "you ain't seen nothing yet" worsse.

#52 ::: Gary Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 12:22 AM:

Here in upstate New York, it keeps looking like we've invaded Chicago by mistake, lots of crooked politicians and lots of crooks killing each other, and if GWB wasn't an incompetent idiot why is his ex-baseball team such a bunch of dinks...

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 12:20 PM:

Guaranteed to make us look really competent in Iraq:
U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press
Troops write articles presented as news reports. Some officers object to the practice

It makes me wonder even more about what Our Fearless Leaders in DC are on.

#54 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2005, 01:29 PM:

Bush's speech this morning was a miracle of fluff and handwaving.

His spiel is really getting kind sad and tiresome.

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