Friday, September 22, 2006

6/11


June 12, 2006 : a scene from the mourning ceremony - I am the guy with the transparent square mark on his face near the bottom left corner.


and click here to hear me leading the mourning rituals for a few seconds before being overcome by emotion:
http://www.badongo.com/file/1442062


When I look at the calendar, the blackest day of my year is June 11.
It is quite ironic that my personal tragedy bears more than a passing resemblance to the more collective one, all it takes is to turn the 6 upside down.

This post was published in a slightly modified version in my last New York Times group blog, I consider it one of my best posts to date.

In the movie “Syriana,” George Clooney labels the first Arab dude to appear in the film - a terrorist, naturally - as “son of a goat.” I have heard this “nickname” in other forms enough to assume it is more than a passing oddity. Since I am an Arab and proud of it, I am also a son of the goat, however, today I am allowed my right to speak. This is what I say:

Four of my friends were killed by a huge double roadside bomb that exploded in Karada on Sunday June 11. That’s right, four, count them … that is, if you can identify their bodies. Forever gone — can you imagine that? Since you are all comfy in your air-conditioned rooms sitting on armchairs, sipping Pepsi or Kool-Aid or whatever it is that you care to sip while your sons and daughters go safely to colleges and your spouses sleep in bedrooms million miles away from here, I’d like to take the opportunity to offer what it feels like to be insane amidst the apocryphal hell of Iraq, both weather-wise and people-wise.
I wish I could fill the rest of my article with expletives, but since I am writing for The New York Times, I can’t. So be it.
They were the best of people. Two of them, my best friends, were Shiites; another was Sunni and the other was Christian — an example of unity that can never be portrayed in a million years by the hypocritical fake advertisements they numb us with on TV. Three of them lived in the internal hostel because their families were abroad, and each one’s story is sadder than the other.
Ninos, the Christian, was perhaps the kindest person I ever met, the type that fills you with a warm glow when you speak with him … you connected to a forgotten fountain of happiness that was spurred by his natural do-goodness. He had just two weeks until he would have finished his final exams and returned forever to the safety of Kurdistan, where his Assyrian family resides.
Yahya was a Sunni from Mosul, also a nice guy: He could not even hurt the ground he stepped on. (He and Ninos were roommates, and were called “the saints” by their neighbors.) His family had moved to Egypt after being threatened. He had one week until he was to leave for home, and on top of that, get married. The girl in question is in our academic department. She is now in a state of paralysis.
The third, Hobi, was a Shiite of Turkish descent from Karbala. He was my best friend. The day before, I asked him if we could take a picture together since this was the last year of college and I would probably never see him again after he set off for Spain, where his mother lives. Little did I know I would get that picture, and that it would be a picture of his grave.
I remember precisely the moment when I got the phone call at 10:30 p.m. telling me that three of them were dead.* The time went very slowly. The room, just a minute earlier moist and extremely hot, became sullen and cold. In the living room Nancy Ajram was loudly assuring us of her undying joy and devotion, strangely out of context.
I went upstairs and wept alone. I wept all day, frequently looking at the mirror and gesturing incoherently … Robert DeNiro would’ve been ashamed …
The next day, while I was walking in the protest in which the three coffins were held up high and marched around the college courtyards, everyone was crying, everyone was shouting — it was a terrible sight. But when I heard the shouts “No! No to Terrorism!” up ahead, I didn’t feel a thing. They were exploiting us, we the people, we the good people of Iraq who never looked at our good friends as Sunni, Shia and Christian — these divisions did not exist. We cried for them together. We prayed the Islamic funeral prayer over all three of them, even though it is supposed to be unacceptable in Islam to pray for the Christian dead. I didn’t feel that I wanted vengeance towards Zarqawi in particular. I didn’t know why then, but I think I do now: because it is not only Zarqawi who is to blame.
My world has not been the same since that day. Everywhere I go there are small marks that bear their faces or actions of the past (like when England wins in the World Cup, of which Hobi was a great fan), and the lectures that Ninos used to make clear to us less-gifted students, and the countless pictures, tokens of a better time that I cannot bear to look at again. Even when I close my eyes to sleep, nightmares creep in and welcome me. Yesterday I dreamt I was killed by marines; before that I was abducted by militias … it goes on and on.
And there you sit, comfortable in your ignorance, sipping on your Pepsi and choking on your Burger King while I tell you the a story of one of those statistical body counts. You are to blame. Your ignorance was a major cause of all this.
I remember back in 2003, when the Americans were still treated as curious aliens. Children of all sorts walked to the American soldier, the proud, brave liberator … Strangely, he was Mexican in origin and the first question that he asked was, Sunni or Shiite? See what I mean? In my past three articles, you can clearly see that I went with the sectarian trend of my times, but now I see my grave mistake — it was a trend undoubtedly ignited, encouraged and adopted by the ignorant anti-terrorist-pro-divide-&-conquer U.S. liberals. It was with difficulty that I identified my friends today, my dearly loved friends, as “Shiite” and “Sunni” and “Christian.” I will never do that again.
Later that night, I printed out a glorious color picture of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the flag of Iran, and the American star-spangled banner, put them one on top of the other in the backyard, the American flag on top of all, and set them all to flame … I didn’t feel a goddamn thing. I don’t consider my actions in the above paragraph justified, even morally correct. I apologize for that, but it’s the truth. Heck, I’m going to write to Bono to ask him if he can do a song about my friends, but I’m not hoping for much.
**
I said that four people were killed, but only talked about three. The last person, Saif, survived the explosion and was hospitalized with third-degree burns. I visited Saif that first day; his face was completely unrecognizable. He kept asking me about the fate of the three others, tears stuck at the corner of his eye. I told him they were fine.
Five days later, I had a dream where I met Sayoofi on the streets. He looked much healthier but somehow out of touch. I woke up giddy and expectant that day; He died that afternoon.
I did visit him on that last day and he told me the story of the explosion. It contained some interesting details :
Saif: “When the explosion occurred, the four of us were walking hand in hand. All of a sudden I felt myself hurled 50 meters in the air, and felt a severe burning all over my body. I wore a t-shirt which eased the pain on my arms; not so for my legs. All around me people were burning and moaning horribly; the stench was unbearable. I could still walk and I crossed the street, calling for anyone I saw for help. When I reached the other side, I flung myself in a pool of mud and water — people came and started throwing cold water on me. I had barely settled when a second larger explosion rocked the streets. I looked behind me and saw the building set to flames, Ninos [the Christian] was beside me: his face was white and something had entered his stomach.”
Here Saif stops with tears running down his face to ask me for the zillionth time about the other three. I tell him that they are resting just as he is.
As for the second explosion: that explains why the body of Yahya (the guy from Mosul) was so unrecognizable. When we saw him at the morgue, he was a big piece of coal. It’s likely that he did not have the luxury of walking away from the second explosion.
Saif: “Afterwards, a police vehicle came and picked both of us up; he drove a short distance before throwing us back on the streets, saying that he did not know the route! A passenger bus picked us up next. Ninos fainted and became very white [we now know that his lung was destroyed], then another police car picked us up. He dropped us at Ibn al-Nafees hospital, where they separated me from Ninos. They ignored me for half an hour and let me burn silently until I barricaded the nearest doctor I could find. My uncle worked in the hospital and he managed to transfer me to the Italian hospital [which is where we were now].”
Two important points: The first policeman was probably in on the explosion, which occurred near a jewelry store; he probably left my injured friends there to guarantee his share of the loot. Second, nothing works in Iraq except by connections (which got Saif into a better hospital). Even if Ninos’s injuries had been treatable, he probably would have died just the same because of negligence and the dirty conditions in the hospital.
***The last time I felt genuinely happy was ten days before the explosion, on Graduation Party day. When I look at the pictures now, they seem to be from a blurry and distant past. Many students from our class are packing up and leaving. I was a strong supporter of staying in Iraq before these events, because (a) call me stupid, but I loved my country, and living abroad sucked for a variety of reasons, and (b) unlike Zeyad, a rare case of someone who became a popular blogger and got accepted to journalism school in the U.S., I can only afford to work or study here in Iraq (in Amman, where my family resides, jobs are hard to find and school is expensive.) The truth is that even after the explosion, I was still undecided, but a story a friend told me the other day — a horrible, Hollywood-like experience that is too long to be told here — changed my mind permanently.
I am sorry, but nobody of sane mind can live here … We Iraqis have been so used to being kicked and dragged through the mud that we did not recognize the abyss in which we found ourselves. But there comes a time when you look around see your world for what it is and cannot take any more of it. I hate to be a whiner, but I tell you nothing but the absolute truth. Iraqis today are strange, sorry creatures — confused, constantly paranoid, and filled with distrust and hatred.
I wish I could tell you how can we fix this. Although the Americans had the upper hand, in my opinion, they no longer do — it’s been a lost in a sea of blood. When I return to our area these days from college, I come into a real-life “Vanilla Sky” ghost town — streets are vacant, some shops are open but their doors are near-shut and people with guns stand at the door. Shiite purging has finally reached us and it did not manifest in small ways: there is a dried pool of blood about 100 meters away from my house.
The only solution I can think of comes from an old Soundgarden song:
Black Hole Sun, won’t you come and wash away the rain

96 comments:

Melantrys said...

Didn't have the nerve to really read it again (already did that on some blog that published the TimesSelect stuff...) so I just skipped through it.

I think you're right, it's one of the best pieces you've written.

As for the content... what can I say?

*hugs, hugs, hugs again*

Dreamer said...

Hi its my first time here. I was very moved by your article and I am extremely sorry for what happened. I know saying sorry doesn't help but I don't know what else to say.
I just hope that this madness will stop very soon

Dreamer

Anonymous said...

I'm not very good at expresssing condolences but I do envy your friends not for their horrible deaths rather for the fact that they are now in better places. May God rest their soules and help their families overcome their grief

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Words written from the heart are always the most powerful, Kid. And this is still so, the second time around.

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions. Hamlet

Matt said...

Kid,
I read that article and was truly moved. I don't have anything to say. Thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...

May God help you with your terrible grief, and all other suffering Iraqis
Umi Nuri Najaf/London

Jenny said...

Seconding Matt XXX

Jenny said...

The question, reading all your latest posts, now is: What would you have us do? I mean, the ones that apart from watching our tv's and drinking our cokes and getting by generally, read you blog?
What would you like to expect as a reaction, apart from our obvious sympathy and trying to understand?

Anonymous said...

drinking Pepsi and eating KFC .. hmm, doesn't that sum up /your/ position during the whole mess? You want American citizens to take action?
Shouldn't you be the one taking action?

If you don't stand up for your country, don't ask others to do it for you.

Melantrys said...

Anonymous, why don't you go and get a life?

Anonymous said...

I just think it's funny when he blames people for "drinking pepsi" and at the same time says that talking to girls and going to movies is how every one should live.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone lost close friends here. The pain never leaves you and their memory always stays with you. You finally reach an agreement with God that you are not only living your own life, but living thiers as well. Though never seeming to live up to what they would have were they still with us. I pray for you and your friends and hope that you understand life must contiue on for them through you, if nothing else.

Treasure of Baghdad said...

Jenny,

You should stand up and face your government. You should not be silent. The silence of the American people led to the destruction of this country. Your president and his men are messing up with other countries. Face him, yell at him, kill him, i don't care! Just let him that what happened is because of him... He destroyed Iraq and God knows which country is next! people are suffering because of him and his administration. Is that difficult?

Your silence killed your sons and daughters whom he sent to Iraq. They are fighting for whom? Did anyone find weapons of Mass destruction? Is Saddam executed? the answer is NO NO NO...

it's just the Iraqi people and the US soldiers are suffering in this while he and his men are doing whatever they like to do on the expense of Iraqis and Americans. Wake up....

Konfused Kid said...

Anon,

I don't point fingers this way unless there is a damn good reason, and that is, four of my friends were killed.
Now, you want me to DO something? I did, I wrote this article. I can't really blame Zarqawi because he's supposed to KILL people, but you, oh you, on the other hand, came in the names of prosperity and liberty - you came to teach us all how to eat the burger and drain it with coke like it should be, and by Allah - that didn't happen.

There is a grave difference when I talk about how I like to have some pastime and when I criticise you for doing it in this piece, the allusion is metaphorical and you could easily understand it but for lack of a better argument you choose to stubbornly do this.

To sum it up collectively, and in layman terms my people are dying because of something your people did (or had part) in doing, That said, I don't hold your country entirely responsible - I didn't piss on your flag alone, I pissed on them all. That said, you still hold a bigger part of the blame.
I hope this gets it through.

Salams and Happy Ramadan

Melantrys said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melantrys said...

I don't know, I suspect the problem is that if he acknowledged your right to get angry in grief over your lost friends he'd have to feel compassion instead of attacking you.

Ramadan kareem to you too, friend.

*hugs*


(*can't spell*)

Marshmallow26 said...

Hello Kid,

It was so sad though...

But tell me how you risk your life by putting your picture??
I am just asking for curiosity...!

Konfused Kid said...

Well I was hoping it's not really obvious...but I guess the real reason is because I don't give a rat's derriere.

Anonymous said...

Kid,
Really sorry for your loss and that of all. Words cannot help but hopefully time will. Don't let the grief materialize itself into hatred but into good to bring about better conditions. Cheap words, easy to say, I know.

If the majority of Iraqis want Americans out, then I, who supported the ouster of Saddam in the hopes Iraqis could enjoy freedom, would say we should leave. But I don't really think it is Americans who are setting off bombs to kill innocents, please point me to facts if this is not so.

But I am confused by treasure of baghdad's comment. If he is an Iraqi who feels the Americans are at fault for all, why does he list the United States as his location? 'Face him, yell at him, kill him, i don't care!' 'Did anyone find weapons of Mass destruction? Is Saddam executed?' By his words I would say his ideology is at fault for most of the world's woes. Kill everyone that disagrees with me isn't quite the same as everyone gets his day in court as a value to strive for.

Kid, that is the type of hatred that I hope you don't let your grief come to be. I am sorry for your loss.
Thom

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Your anger will not bring your friends back, Kid. Nor will playing Russian roulette with your life.

...but you, oh you, on the other hand, came in the names of prosperity and liberty -

And others have come to see that that doesn't happen. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Treasure,

The American people were not behind the invasion of Iraq. Many of us, myself included, voted against Bush in the last election, and the idiot still won. That is the extent of what we can do, apart from emailing our representatives to show our displeasure. Beyond that we have about as much power to control our government as you do. Suggesting violent action against those you disagree with, as you did in suggesting we somehow do something about Bush, is not the way of freedom, democracy, or anything moral, it is the way of anarchy and foolishness. Surely you should know that firsthand, unless you like the violence in your country.

It is not the Americans who killed Kid's friends. If you want to say that had the invasion never happened and Saddam had been left alone they would be alive, that's fine. However it is still pointing fingers the wrong way. Perhaps if explosives had never been invented they would be alive too. Blame those who planted the bomb, and don't make excuses for them. Kid's comment that Zarqawi is "expected" to kill people is incredible, as if this is an excuse. America defeated the Nazis, and Germany did not descend into chaos. Japan was hit with atomic bombs, and did not descend into chaos. Why the difference? It is the Islamic nutballs who are killing people, period, that is the difference. They don't want Iraq to be anything but an Islamic theocracy like Iran.

The excuse that it is the Americans who made everyone think about sectarianism is garbage is as well. Perhaps they just knew what would happen when trying to fill the vacuum left by Saddam. Are the Americans taking Sunni and Shiite, brainwashing them somewhere like zombies and turning them loose on each other? The idea that anyone who kills based on sectarian affiliation is influenced by America is utterly ridiculous. Only screwballs who have it in their twisted minds that this is for a good cause can do such things. Because of these people, other Sunnis and Shiites have to care about their sect for their own safety. Understandable, but again it is not the Americans doing this.

I also understand Kid's bitterness and anger, but for his own sake he needs to move past the loss of his friends, and stop acting as if his own life doesn't matter. Becoming self-destructive or careless as a result of survivor guilt does not serve the memory of his friends.

Konfused Kid said...

Anon,
You are mostly wrong, why? here's why:

1. Treasure's comment about George Bush was not meant to be assessed as such, he didn't specifically instruct you to kill him, he said "Face him, yell at him, kill him, i don't care!" which means more or less that Treasure just wants that bastard out, he wasn't speaking in a conference or something, please take it as it was originally meant to be taken, the problem is in the preconceptions. when a Muslim say 'kill', he may mean it as much as the next-door heavy metal rocker. Lay back, have a smoke and think outside stereotypes, I don't have a gun under my turban, puh-leease.

2. This is completely and utterly beyond crap, the difference is pure and simple: at the time, America was led by stubborn nutcases who visualized in Iraq a sitting duck, which by roasting would have helped tremendoulsy in sharpening a public image - the fact that sectaranism in Iraq was encouraged by American behavior is 100% hitting it on the nail correct - The idiots did it, not deliberately ; it was based on complete ignorance of the social nuances underlying these concepts - back at the time when we went and talked with that 'mexican' soldier, the first thing he popped in our faces was 'Sunni or Shiite', which easily indicates that this pattern of thinking was manifest in American leadership; the awareness of somebody's sect was NOT the way it was on a given Iraqi street, it is now.

It was Paul Bremer's reckless a-go-go decisions: Divisions of the IGC on sectarain lines and disbanding the army, that encouraged those who WANT a sectarain vision of Iraq to fully embrace the opportunity, had America handled the situation differently, things would have been greatly different.

the American government needed someplace easy, full of rewards they can take without much hassle to shine an image of gallant anti-terrorism, thought they found it in Iraq, but instead it turned out to be a swamp that nobody ever expected.

I HAVE to be over my friends death, thank you very much, so I can brace myself for the next batch of relative casualities.

A "grateful" Iraqi

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

1. George Bush will be President through 2008. Our Presidential elections are every 4 years. And the office of the President is limited to two terms. The last one was in 2004. The elections coming up this November are for the Legislative branch(Senate and Congress). Our government's power is balanced between the Executive Branch(President), Legislative Branch & Judicial Branch. They have to deal with each other and make compromises to achieve anything. Which is why we talk about gridlock a lot. You may blame George Bush for everything, but it takes more than one man. And it takes an unusual confluence of events to get everyone on the same page.

2. No doubt mistakes were made. But we cannot turn back time. We can only go from here. It is those people who accuse us of deliberately trying to foster sectarian division that are flaky as hell. Accuse us of ignorance, and you would be right. But it is that very ignorance that precludes the Machievellian actions people accuse us of.

I will not go into my views on our motives. That is pretty subjective. And we will probably only argue.

So now I am done with todays lesson on the United States governmental structure. It was merely an outline, but I didn't want to bore you too much.

Better picture, Kid. Not so obvious. :) And now I will have to actually go and do some work. :(

Anonymous said...

Kid,

I agree that America should have handled things differently, and that America assumed sectarianism would be an issue. You can see this in the pre-war assessments of the likelihood of civil war. And obviously, once the violence gets out of hand, people of a given sect have to band together out of protection, not because it would otherwise be an issue for them. The point is this: nothing the "Mexican" soldier said to you would make YOU Kid go and kill someone of a different sect. A person either has that mentality or doesn't. The idea that America can turn people into sectarian killers who were not before is nonsense. America failed to control what Saddam kept in control, but blaming America for that particular aspect is kinda like blaming you for leaving your door unlocked instead of the burgler who robbed your house.

The comment about getting over your friends' deaths is because it's evident you are an impressionable young man from the things you have done and written since their deaths. There is no shame in moving on, and getting the hell out of there if you have the means.

annie said...

The idea that anyone who kills based on sectarian affiliation is influenced by America is utterly ridiculous.

how stupid.

""The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation." "

The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq

"Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. 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. "

nothing new

if you know anything about negroponte

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Annie,

I was wondering when you were going to show up again.

Assuming that the Pentagon actually did do this, which even your title puts a question on, how does this excuse the targeting of Shia by other portions of the Iraqi population? Which by the insurgency allying with al-Qaeda appeared to be the case.

And if one is going to fight an insurgency, does this not mean that one has to go after those involved in it? Whatever their sect may be. As was done in Fallujah(against the insurgency & al-Qaeda) and Najaf(against al-Sadr)?

And it is one thing to go after people like Zarqawi and his supporters and another to go after bakers, barbers, doctors etc.

Anonymous said...

Konfused Kid. You certainly live up to your name. How about taking a class in logic. I agree with the other posted who posted under the name "anonymous". Thanks.

neurotic_wife said...

Wow KK...Thats one of the most moving posts Ive ever read...Im so sorry about your friends, and I know the word "sorry" isnt good enough...nothing is good enough...Nobody will know the suffering of the Iraqis until they taste it themselves...so dont expect people that drink coke and eat BK to understand...Im one of them btw, I love BK...not much of a coke person tho...ANyhow, Ive met many Americans, and blv me the problem is not with them...the problem is with us KK...Many Americans sympathise with us, bes thats all they can do...Ihna, we are the ones that should do something...Il mot sar ib filis, bes kulha min wara eedna ihna...if only we can unite...if we only shiites and sunnis can put away their differences for one day then things will get better...Bes makoo fyda, wahid ijur bil tool wil lakh bil 3urudh...

Anonymous said...

Kid and Treasure
Words will not help, time may.
Democracy doesn't really work the way the west leads us to believe, sure we vote to remove parties we disagree with, but in the UK for example on foreign policy ALL parties agree that the invasions of Iraq was sound, (the one exception had it’s leader disgraced publicly and replaced by the only candidate who had supported the invasion).
In the end you need to understand the system better, and get into a position were you can make changes, albeit small ones, in the end you need to hit where it hurts i.e in the pocket.
aany hel youm min khilal 3amalee sahemit fee meni3 sherika amreekyia min 2ufqa tiswalhum katha million, ijooz mey qadim wala iy akhir bes I cannot tell you how good it made me feel
ukhtakum el iraqya el.....

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I too have pointed the finger in the general direction of where I think the calloused mindless masses of the 'safely privileged' sit, as you say, 'sipping their pepsi colas from easy chairs' but you know what? I don't think they exist. I think they are made up by the people that sell colas and sport -utility vehicles to get us to buy the junk. Making us think that if we buy their junk, then we will be living like the happy clueless 'them', 'those people'. They must exist right? We see them on TV, so they must be real? A bunch of bull that is.

You go to an american city, and the teens are afraid of getting shot by drug gangs, you go to the country and the domestic violence and abuse is rampant, kids don't know if when they get home if one or both of their parents will be dead from the frequent 'murder-suicide threats' from the ½ of marriages that fail, and many violently. Or did you not see the news the other day, where a guy on the freeway stabbed his wife and shoved a knife repeatedly into his toddler's head? Sure the kid was in it's safety seat, and yeah they were probably sipping colas, but it doesn't mean it's a sane world. One in four women are sexually assaulted and abused in this country, do you know how many million that is? And since when does every and any crime deserve that a prisoner get raped, sodomized in jail, as is the case in every jail regardless of the crime? The ones driving by in the limos and big fancy cars? From what I know, they physically and /or sexually assault their families too.

There is no such thing as a 'safe place', not in Iraq, not in Sudan, and no, not even in the americas. Even if it looks all 'tv perfect' from the outside, most families are violent scenes of terror and chaos inside the walls. Don't be fooled. The friendships you described are the best anyone can hope for in this world. Plenty of americans would be jealous of the friendships you described, because many will live their whole lives not knowing anything similar, and all that i know have known the fear of they or a family member facing an untimely and violent death.

Find some more friends, try to heal, but don't look for a 'safe' place anywhere on this earth, it's just an illusion.

fed wahid crazy said...

wow, excellent find ..
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/

January 2005? Hmm .. that's about when shitte militias rose to power.

annie said...

most families are violent scenes of terror and chaos inside the walls.

not in the large american city i live in. i have never lived in a locked house in my life. my son just gradualted from high school and once i heard about a kid getting beat up down there. one of his friends got paralysed in a skateboarding accident. once about 20 uears ago someone i knew got murdered. that's it. i don't know where you live but most of the families are not full of terror inside their walls.
i have lived in 4 western states.

lynn, i have just returned from a family holiday, my mother turned 80.
if you follow the negroponte link and the links within it, you may have a more blance view about the US history and death squads. there was a reason he was appointed and transfered to iraq. he knows how to get the job done. AQ was not in iraq before the invasion. the use of special forces (assasins) has escalated in our military. also the use of private contractors(mercinaries)who are not held to the same 'standards'.

fed wahid crazy

the reporter who broke the story of the death squads in iraq was assasinated by an american sniper within days of his report

The US military has announced it is conducting an investigation into Salihee’s killing. Knight Ridder has already declared, however, that “there’s no reason to think that the shooting had anything to do with his reporting work”. In fact, his last assignment gives reason to suspect that it was.

Over the past month, Salihee had been gathering evidence that US-backed Iraqi forces have been carrying out extra-judicial killings of alleged members and supporters of the anti-occupation resistance. His investigation followed a feature in the New York Times magazine in May, detailing how the US military had modeled the Iraqi interior ministry police commandos, known as the Wolf Brigade, on the death squads unleashed in the 1980s to crush the left-wing insurgency in El Salvador.

The Wolf Brigade was recruited by US operatives and the US-installed interim government headed by Iyad Allawi during 2004. A majority of its officers and personnel served in Saddam Hussein’s special forces and Republican Guard—veterans of killings, torture and repression. The unit has been used against the resistance in rebellious cities such as Mosul and Samarra, and, over the past six weeks, has played a prominent role in the massive crackdown ordered by the Iraqi government in Baghdad codenamed “Operation Lightning”.

On June 27, Knight Ridder published the results of its inquiry in an article jointly written by Salihee and correspondent Tom Lasseter. The journalists “found more than 30 examples in less than a week” of corpses turning up in Baghdad morgues of people who were last seen being detained by the police commandos.
....

In a second case, a brigadier-general in the Iraqi interior ministry related that his brother had been detained during a raid on May 14, in a working class Sunni suburb in Baghdad’s west. His body was found the next day bearing signs of torture. Witnesses told the general that the abductors “came in white police Toyota Land Cruisers, wore police commando uniforms, flak vests and helmets” and were armed with 9mm Glock pistols.

Glock sidearms are used by many US law enforcement agencies and have been supplied to Iraqi security forces by the US military.

.....

An article in the British Financial Times on June 29 provided further evidence of police commando atrocities. Mustafa Mohammed Ali, from the western Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, told the newspaper he was detained by the Wolf Brigade on May 22, during the build-up to Operation Lightning. He alleged that he was held for 26 days.

The article reported: “He spent the first day in a barbed wire enclosure with hundreds of other detainees, without food, water or toilet facilities... On the fourth day, the interrogations began. Mr Ali says Wolf Brigade commandos attached electrical wires to his ear and his genitals, and generated a current with a hand-cranked military telephone.”

According to the figures given to the Financial Times, only 22 of the 474 people seized from their homes during the Wolf Brigade sweep in the Abu Ghraib area are still being held. Those released allege they suffered systematic abuse. “Mass detentions and indiscriminate torture seem to be the main tools deployed to crush an insurgency that could last ‘five, six, eight, 10, 12 years’ according to Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary,” the newspaper commented.

In light of the evidence gathered by Salihee, significant discrepancies in the official figures for Operation Lightning in Baghdad raise further concerns about the fate of detainees. In early June, the Iraqi government reported that 1,200 had been detained. Just days later on June 6, this was revised downward to just 887, with no explanation. Some of the deaths referred to in the Knight Ridder article coincide with this period.
.....

The revelations about the conduct of the Wolf Brigade lend credibility to the claims made by Max Fuller, in a feature headlined “For Iraq, ‘The Salvador Option’ Becomes Reality” and published by the Centre for Research on Globalisation.

Over the past nine months, a terrifying new development in Iraq has been the discovery of dozens of bodies dumped in rubbish heaps, rivers or abandoned buildings. In most cases, the people had suffered torture and mutilation before being killed by a single shot to the head. The US military has consistently reported that the victims were members of the Iraqi army or police. The media has universally reported the mass killings as the work of anti-occupation terrorists.

Fuller noted, however: “What is particularly striking is that many of those killings have taken place since the police commandos became operationally active and often correspond with areas where they have been deployed.”

In Mosul, for example, dozens of men were detained by the commandos last November, as part of a US-led operation to bring the city back under occupation control. Over the following weeks, more than 150 tortured and executed bodies were found. In Samarra, dozens of bodies appeared in nearby Lake Thartar in the wake of operations by the commandos in that city.
.....

From February through to late April, more than 100 bodies were recovered from the Tigris River south of Baghdad—one of the most rebellious areas of the country. The Iraqi government initially claimed they were villagers who had been kidnapped by insurgents in the village of Maidan. This has since been discredited. The victims are from a range of towns and villages, including Kut in the north and Basra in the south. Police in the area told the San Francisco Chronicle that many of the dead had been “motorists passing through the area when stopped by masked men bearing Kalashnikov rifles at impromptu checkpoints”.

Other killings have been discovered in Baquaba and the Syrian border town of Qaim in the aftermath of counter-insurgency operations by US forces and their Iraqi allies. Fuller also noted the suspicions surrounding the assassination of well over 200 university academics, most of whom were opponents of the US occupation of Iraq.

Dozens of bodies have been found over the past two months in Baghdad. In May, the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS)—the main public Sunni organisation opposed to the occupation—directly accused the Wolf Brigade of having “arrested imams and the guardians of some mosques, tortured and killed them, and then got rid of their bodies in a garbage dump in Shaab district” of Baghdad. AMS secretary general Hareth al-Dhari declared at the time: “This is state terrorism by the Minister of the Interior.”

The very existence of the Wolf Brigade underscores the criminality of the US occupation and the utter fraud of the Bush administration claims to be bringing “liberation” and “democracy” to Iraq. Many of the commandos would have been involved in murder and torture on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The American military deliberately recruited them in order to make use of their experience in mass repression and has directly modeled their operations on those of right-wing death squads in Central America.

The main US advisor to the Wolf Brigade from the time of its formation until April 2005 was James Steele. Steele’s own biography, promoting him for the US lecture circuit, states that “he commanded the US military group in El Salvador during the height of the guerilla war” and “was credited with training and equipping what was acknowledged to be the best counter-terrorist force in the region”. In a 12-year campaign of murder and repression, the Salvadoran units, trained and advised by people like Steele, killed over 70,000 people.

In his speech on June 28, George Bush declared his administration was working with the Iraqi interior and defence ministries to “improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations” and “develop their command and control structures”. The evidence is beginning to emerge that this means paying and equipping former Baathist killers to terrorise, torture and murder Iraqis who are believed to have links to the popular resistance, which an unnamed US analyst estimated for the June 27 edition of Newsweek had “as many as 400,000 auxiliaries and support personnel”.

The killing of journalists seeking to document or expose allegations of state-organised murder has accompanied every dirty war against a civilian population. Since the US occupation of Iraq began, dozens of reporters, cameramen and other media workers have been killed by American-led forces in suspicious circumstances that were never independently investigated.

Two more Iraqi journalists have been killed in the days since Yasser Salihee’s death. On June 26, Maha Ibrahim, a news editor with a television station operated by the anti-occupation Iraqi Islamic Party, was shot dead when US troops opened fire on her car as she and her husband drove to work. Two days later, Ahmad Wail Bakri, a program director for Iraqi al-Sharqiya television was killed by American troops as he reportedly tried to drive around a traffic accident in Baghdad.


it is very dangerous to be a journalist in iraq. unless you work for the rendon group, or lincoln corp. the official propaganda arm of the military. we spend over 100 million a year in fake news, it ain't for nuthin.

annie said...

Yasser Salihee's article

Anonymous said...

you know what kid?i think all of us who lived in iraq after teh events of 2003 have seen what no human beings should see in their entire lives. just to comment on a few posts above..only a few informed and kept-away americans understand and i mean really understand what is hapening in iraq and they can do (if they decide to) about as much damage as an iraqi shouting "death to america" in the middle of US soldiers. therefore, im not even gonna bother to share my views becuase its just useless ya'll no point to it whatsoever.

what i dont understand though is how did that stupid Bush guy get elected in the first place? then again, whoever makes the oval office these days is just another hopeless idiot..

Michomeme said...

hey..how U doing? ihope u r fine
i don't know what to say
i'm sorry for ur lost

i liked the picture on Ur blog


take care

Jenny said...

@ Treasure of Bagdad.

George Bush is not my president. I'm not American. I have never been to the US. I have no more influence on the American elections as you. Not all 'westerners'that read this blog are americans. KFC you can eat anywhere.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Anonymous at 4:31 a.m.,

Strangely enough I will have to agree with Annie's response to you. Which is unusual because we usually argue.

I have never experienced a violent crime, no member of my family has ever experienced a violent crime, in fact I cannot think of anyone I know, that I am aware of, that has experienced a violent crime.

When I was a kid we never locked our doors. Although we do now. But we have never had our house broken into. That's not to say that doesn't occur. I do know someone who has had their home or garage broken into. But no one was hurt.

I'm sorry, Anonymous, but I don't live in fear as you suggest.

Annie,

Interesting article. Although the link didn't work. It told me access was forbidden.

But here again, before I would condemn anyone, I would require actual proof instead of speculation.

Because reporters have been killed, injured or arrested by US forces does not mean there is any cover up of questionable activities. There is a war on and they tend to be in the thick of things. Except those who hide in the Green Zone of course.

I am aware that the Wolf Brigade is being accused of all sorts of things. Is it true? I don't know. But before we condemn them we also need to be aware that their accusers may have their own motives in pointing a finger at them. Motives that are not so innocent. But that being said, I do not think that torture of opponents is acceptable.

It is not in our best interests, Annie, for the violence and chaos in Iraq to continue as some people seem to think. Yes, I am aware that there are people out there who think so. Not necessarily in our government though.

It is in our governments best interests for Iraq to be stable. Our troops can leave honorably, we can quit spending billions of dollars on the war and our country can start to heal it's divisions.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

what i dont understand though is how did that stupid Bush guy get elected in the first place? Anonymous

You will have to recall the state of affairs in 2000. Bush was running against Al Gore at the time. There was nothing that was on the American public's radar as far as foreign affairs were concerned. They basically didn't know Bin Laden existed. So they were more concerned with domestic issues. There was the rise of the religous right. Their concerns hinged more on issues like abortion and they were tired of the scandal's of the Clinton years. You name it. But it was one of the closest elections ever.

Anonymous said...

Annie: you are a bitter, unlikable old hag who really needs to get a life instead of pissing all over every Iraqi blog. I'm sick of paging past your crap everywhere. Just because you grew a fat ass and wrinkles and your vagina dried up so nobody cares about you anymore doesn't mean you have to accost the rest of the world with your bile. Being ugly on the inside too just doesn't help. Get your own blog where you can post reams of garbage nobody else cares about.

annie said...

lynn, if you google the reporters name you can read many stories about his death that occured one day after he wrote the article in conjunction w/a western reporter.this includes the financial times, guardian, and other msm publications. it is not desputed he was shot and killed by one bullet in the head by an american soldier. however, one can draw one's own conclusion if it was related to his story.

there is only one other iraqi blog i comment on anon. obviously your hositility says more about you than me.if it makes you feel better to imagine that i am dried up, fat or whatever, have at it. sticks and stones and all that.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Annie,

Now both of your links worked. Strange.

Here's one for you. From around the same time period last year.

It's hard to stop feeling the pain of losing people one cares about. It takes a wise person with a great deal of will power not to seek revenge.

annie said...

It takes a wise person with a great deal of will power not to seek revenge.

yes, i agree. i think it is important to remember different cultures respond to crime in different ways. i am not familiar w/the tribes and retribution but i think sometimes it comes down to a matter of honor, something that is instilled in a culture that is not necessarily connected to revenge. as an american i cannot really grasp the intricacies of emotions, or the devastation. i can't help thinking that if cheneyco had sent our best and brightest in foriegn policy and middle eastern experts, perhaps heeded the warnings and advice of the state department, things could have possibly come out very differently.the NIE report that was released over the weekend was not very encouraging. i wish someone somewhere had ideas beyond this stay the course.

a few months after the occupation i hosted some visitors (women) from iraq at my home thru the world affairs coucil. all the neighbors wanted to come and stopped by. it was a wonderful afternoon. one of the women was shiite, the other sunni, they said the groups co existed easily in iraq and the sunni was married to a shiite. she said the neighborhoods were mixed. it is so horrible and sad. i worry about them, one i have kept in touch w/thru email.

i think it is very sad that iraq may be divided into 3 different regions. but, i believe this was the plan at the beginning. there is plenty of documentation to support this, and i have no reason to doubt it.

Matt said...

"They basically didn't know Bin Laden existed." No, that's untrue. Clinton began renditions when he was in office and Bush is taking the heat now. Also, Clinton vigorously pursued bin Laden. I guess most Americans just felt attacks against our embassies in Africa and the bombing of the USS Cole weren't newsworthy or worth our time. Additionally, on the subject of Bush being elected, lest you all forget (I can completely understand how you only see the results of his foreign policy at work in Iraq; I don't doubt that for a second!) that domestic politics are as important to Americans as American foreign policy, if not moreso.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Annie,

It is a little easier to coexist when you have a common threat.

Not all Sunnis supported Saddam and not all Shia avoided Baath party enrollment. You did what you had to do to get along. And it is very sad to see the division grow wider now.

However I don't believe that there was ever a plan to "divide and conquer Iraq" by the United States. Maybe in someone's imagination, yes, but not in any workable way. It just would not be in our interest. But something along our lines (with each state having certain powers) would be doable in Iraq, if they would just give it a thought.

I think that the actions of al-Qaeda and Saddam supporters have played a big role in creating this mess. That's not to say we haven't made mistakes. But to say we alone have screwed it up is very shortsighted. And it overlooks other dangers for Iraq.

But I will not give up hope that Iraq can be put back together again. We managed it after our Civil War.

Matt,

I was referring to the American people as a whole when I was saying they didn't know Bin Laden existed. As you said most people are concerned with domestic issues rather than foreign. They simply would not have been paying attention to what happened overseas. It took the events of 9/11 to shake them out of that stupor.

I do not lay the blame entirely on Clinton for Bin Laden. However it does appear that Washington was more concerned with being politically correct than being hard nosed on national security. There was a reason people overseas liked Clinton. He didn't rock the boat. He also didn't do much for Iraq either. He left that mess for Bush. It was a classic case of pass the buck.

annie said...

I do not lay the blame entirely on Clinton for Bin Laden.

oh, you mean you heard the disney fantasy promoted by the gop was a lie?

what did bush do about the cole?

Yesterday former 9/11 commission member Richard Ben-Veniste was on the situation room to talk about what Bush did in the months leading up to 9/11.

Video - WMV Video - QT

BLITZER: So you the asked the president in the Oval Office — and the vice president — why didn’t you go after the Taliban in those eight months before 9/11 after he was president. What did he say?

BEN-VENISTE: Well, now that it was established that al Qaeda was responsible for the Cole bombing and the president was briefed in January of 2001, soon after he took office, by George Tenet, head of the CIA, telling him of the finding that al Qaeda was responsible, and I said, "Well, why wouldn’t you go after the Taliban in order to get them to kick bin Laden out of Afghanistan?"

Maybe, just maybe, who knows — we don’t know the answer to that question — but maybe that could have affected the 9/11 plot.

BLITZER: What did he say?

BEN-VENISTE: He said that no one had told him that we had made that threat. And I found that very discouraging and surprising.


when clinton attacked the taliban the gop screamed wag the dog. neither the cia or the fbi confirmed bin laden was responsible for the cole until weeks before he left office. plans were drafted to attack afghanistan at that time and bush did nothing. he eventually demoted the terror czar richard clark. clinton did not recieve and ignore a report titled 'bin laden to attack inside the US using planes', that was bush. the gop is trying to use clinton to divert their excruciating disatrous record before the election and you are promoting it by even mentioning clinton. you use the word 'entirely', big of you. well, do you blame bush at all? or does he get off scott free. what about cheney, rumbsfeld? we spent millions on stupid ken starr because of the gop, not clinton. who was responsible in washington for being 'correct'about someone's sex life? lets place the blame for the obsession of the country where it belongs, the media and the gop. what a waste. while this was going on, clinton did as much as he was able to to considering the information available.

He also didn't do much for Iraq either. He left that mess for Bush. It was a classic case of pass the buck.

you are delusional. clinton left us trillion$ in the coffers, a strong middle class, and well loved thruout the world.. the american people had no interest in iraq, who posed no threat to us. that has been established by our intellegence community. bush wouldn't have had to lie to get us there otherwise.

annie said...

It just would not be in our interest.

well, somebodies making billions of dollars off this war, and it's not the iraqi's. da. those trillions we had in our coffers, gone. straight from the middle lower class into the coffers of the military industrial complex, and of course, the oil companies. wake up and follow the money, everyone else does.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Annie,

When it comes to the Bin Laden types I think we were let down going all the way back to Reagan. Once the Cold War was over they thought that was it. No more need to be vigilant. They were wrong.

Clinton left us clueless as to what was going on in the world. Although I will grant that we were too caught up in the dot.com bubble to think of much else. But the problems with Social Security and Medicare did not develop overnight. Nor did Iraq.

I doubt very much if we were well loved throughout the world. But we were more tolerated by more people, yes.

the american people had no interest in iraq,

True, just as Iraqis have no interest now in Darfur or Aqaba. We had our own problems to deal with. It was our governemnts job to deal with foreign affairs. There was every chance that if Clinton had played his hand differently we would not be in Iraq now. Of course, there is the chance we would have been there sooner, too. We will never know.

Annie, those trillions of dollars are being spent on all sorts of things. Not just Iraq. You have increased security issues because of 9/11, the drug program(I don't agree with that), the tax cuts which were employed to jump start the economy, natural disasters etc. But I do agree that it would be nice to balance the budget, which is difficult to do when we are at war.

I don't think it would be in our interest for Iraq to dissolve into 3 possibly warring segments. The south would be sucked in by Iran, the north would have even more border problems with Turkey and the Anbar would degenerate into a haven for al-Qaida.

Jenny said...

I have never believed in Bin Laden. Please don't bite my head off, I have nothing to corroberate this apart from my feeling. No doubt there once was this mudjeheddin type person who went from SA to Afghanistan to fight the Russians and communism and was supported by the Americans at the time, but the Bin Laden we've been served up since Cole and the embassy attacks.... I don't know if this man is still alive, if he's the great Fuhrer of Al Quaida, it's just.... to me he's always seemed to much B-movie villain, a cartoon figure... if he's alive and so phonomenally rich how cone his tapes are always so bad?

annie said...

jenny, re bin laden. you may want to check out this washington post link from '99. this article would never be printed today. by William M. Arkin, author of "The U.S. Military Online," is a leading expert on national security and the Internet. He lectures and writes on nuclear weapons, military matters and information warfare. An Army intelligence analyst from 1974-1978 wapo /newsweek /msnbc consultant

personally, i very much believe he existed in the past. today, i don't know if he is still alive.

segment from the link "When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing"


PSYOPS seeks to exploit human vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations.
Digital morphing — voice, video, and photo — has come of age, available for use in psychological operations. PSYOPS, as the military calls it, seek to exploit human vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations to pursue national and battlefield objectives.


Pentagon planners started to discuss digital morphing after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Covert operators kicked around the idea of creating a computer-faked videotape of Saddam Hussein crying or showing other such manly weaknesses, or in some sexually compromising situation. The nascent plan was for the tapes to be flooded into Iraq and the Arab world.

"strategic" PSYOPS scheming didn't die. What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad urging the Iraqi people and Army to rise up against Saddam, a senior Air Force officer asked in 1990?

According to a military physicist given the task of looking into the hologram idea, the feasibility had been established of projecting large, three-dimensional objects that appeared to float in the air.

But doing so over the skies of Iraq? To project such a hologram over Baghdad on the order of several hundred feet, they calculated, would take a mirror more than a mile square in space, as well as huge projectors and power sources.


The Gulf War hologram story might be dismissed were it not the case that washingtonpost.com has learned that a super secret program was established in 1994 to pursue the very technology for PSYOPS application. The "Holographic Projector" is described in a classified Air Force document as a system to "project information power from space ... for special operations deception missions."


i do not think it is outrageous to consider the videos appearing of bin laden are fake. for all i know he's dead. the problem w/liars is you never know when to believe them. our administration lies. psyops is all about faking reality.

lynn,i don't think tax cuts or natural disaster can account for 'mistakes' w/in the pentagon.


On September 10, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference to disclose that over $2,000,000,000,000 in Pentagon funds could not be accounted for. Rumsfeld stated: "According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions."


watch rummy's 9/10 trillions speech, youtube

The Comptroller of the Pentagon at the time of the attack was Dov Zakheim, who was appointed in May of 2001. Before becoming the Pentagon's money-manager, he was an executive at System Planning Corporation, a defense contractor specializing in electronic warfare technologies including remote-controlled aircraft systems. Zakheim is a member of the Project for a New American Century and participated in the creation of its 2000 position paper Rebuilding America's Defenses which called for "a New Pearl Harbor.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Jenny,

I don't know if he's alive or not. I do agree that he's probably been built up to be more than he is. But I think that may be by those who find him to be a useful recruiting tool. Right now he's seeming more and more irrelevent.

Annie,

*sigh* Just when I think I can have a rational conversation with you, you come up with more of the conspiracy crap. How are the space aliens doing down in Roswell?

HELP.....
IS THERE NO ONE SANE OUT THERE????

annie said...

HELP.....
IS THERE NO ONE SANE OUT THERE????


lynn, you didn't like the cbs special;)
in all seriousness i am really acquiring an affinity for your attempts @ openmindedness. conspiracy you say!
ahh, my little mind has an imagination. how mant optons do we have here.

do you think rumbsfeld announcing 2 trillion dollars missing from the pentagon is... reasonable? or... you think the comptroller shouldn't be held accountable? i wonder if he even had a degree in economics? i think americans are pretty used to bush placing people in power who are not qualified other than being in the right 'club'. at least after katrina. or maybe you don't'believe' pnac exists, or they wrote those statements.

maybe you just don't like the date it was announced (incredible serendipity, think of the storm it would have caused in the news had we not been 'distracted') or you think rummy was lying about the pentagon, and they were just taking the wrap for 'the war on drugs'. earth to lynn, the money went missing. chances are someone spent it. if there was no record chances are there was a reason

possibly having to do w/national defense (or offense depending how you look at it), it was the PENTAGON. i didn't say it was a conspiracy, you did. i doubt it went for reconstruction. it didn't go for body armor either. have you read the news today?

your starting to sound like a pushover, or a pollyanna. how many trillions would it take to go missing for you to think malfeasance may have been involved? how many trillions in the USA, how many billions in iraq? seriously, i doubt if aliens were involved, most likely humans.

humans+ missing pentagon trillions =?
frankly i find it intreguing. and i'm not alone.

btw, there used to be alot of milionaires in the forbes 100. now they are mostly billionaires. tax relief for the 1% certainly hasn't helped our budget, there was a reason clinton left w/a surplus beyond the dot.com. people who made fortunes paid the piper, now, they don't.

Jon in Maryland said...

Hi Jenny, Annie, and Lynnette,
Interesting conversation going on. I do tend to take some of your links and quotes with a cup or two of salt, Annie. But when something appears in Newsweek, Time, the L.A. Times, N.Y. Times, or the Washington Post, or from a columnist I consider reputable and reasonable, then I take notice. For example, you had earlier linked to opinings about the 'Salvador Option' on that rather off-the-wall-seeming blog, Whiskey whatever, and I had kind of ignored it. But when you linked to MSNBC/Newsweek, I took notice and thought there might be something to it. There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Lynnette, or mine (to quote Hamlet), but probably less than is dreamt of in yours Annie. Sometimes the answer to questions like "Where'd all that money go?" are relatively simple. It went for authorized expenditures, but the people in charge of keeping track are either incompetent or overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, or whatever. Sometimes they don't care; sometimes they do, but aren't around long enough to put accurate systems in place. Sometimes, with non-career military or temporary civilians, they're just putting their time in. Think of the Indian trust records that were supposed to be kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For over 100 years they were mismanaged and the system is a total mess. It wasn't a top priority for any administration, for the Congress, or for the career employees, who were probably "fighting fires" of the moment rather than trying to find long-term solutions. I think that's true in any large-scale organization, government or private.
As for Bin Ladin, Jenny, I've never "believed in" him either, but that's because he isn't God. But I don't think he's a hologram! Since the invasion of Afghanistan and the ouster (temporary?) of the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida, I imagine OBL has been rather sidelined, but still serving as an "inspiration" for his followers. The occasional audiotapes are done to tell people he's still around, but since it has been so long since the last, it's possible he died. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Hey Kid, hang in there and stay safe!

annie said...

For example, you had earlier linked to opinings about the 'Salvador Option' on that rather off-the-wall-seeming blog, Whiskey whatever

fyi, the post at whiskey bar titled salvadoran option is entirely made up of quotes, without ajoining text. the quotes are linked to their original sources.

Newsweek,
UN truth commission,
http://www.usip.org/library/tc/doc/reports/el_salvador/tc_es_03151993_casesD1_2.html#D1, pbs frontline,
direct text from voice of america (military
) radio via dateline/globlsecurity.org,
seattle university (private christian college) news,
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
business week magazine interview.
plus 2 quotes are from books by Raymond Bonner who is an American investigative reporter for The New York Times.

the second whiskey bar post salvadoran option II has original text accompanied and supported by

bush's nomination speech,
negroponte's UN biography,
CIA Inspector General’s Office,
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
CIA Working Group Stipulations Released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Stipulations From the CIA Inspector General's Office Released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ,
John Negroponte Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
U.S. State Department Country Report on Honduras,
Battalion 316 member Jose Barrera Quoted in the Baltimore Sun,
former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer
guardian UK,
newsweek (the article you referred to,
Seymour M. Hersh The New Yorker, the reporter that broke both the my lai and abu graib

whatever one says about billmon, conspiracy theorest not a usual one. you may not like his commentary but his source documentation is impectable. where do you think i origianlly read the newsweek story? i do not believe everything i read either.many of the things i link to i may not agree w/the commentary, nonetheless the facts, such as who exactly was the comtroller at the pentagon when trillions go missing, is relevant to me and the situation. if it isn't it should be.

billmon is one of the most read and respected bloggers, an ex USA today finacial writer ,ex dc journalist, he has a corporate day job. in todays world where the msm is hardly the most reliable source of information, billmon is very good at cutting thru the crap. on the other hand, sources like the online journal get so far out on their 'theories' the parts that interest me i google and confirm, which is how i found the cbs segment w/rummys speech. if we all got our info from fox news, we wouldn't know anything.

today billmon has an interesting post w/quotes from, army times, cheney, latimes,rueters, government excecutive magazine,federal computer week, and rueters, focusing on army shows signs of stress. its a great read.

Newsweek,
UN truth commission,
http://www.usip.org/library/tc/doc/reports/el_salvador/tc_es_03151993_casesD1_2.html#D1, pbs frontline,
direct text from voice of america (military
) radio via dateline/globlsecurity.org,
seattle university (private christian college) news,
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
business week magazine interview.
plus 2 quotes are from books by Raymond Bonner who is an American investigative reporter for The New York Times.

the second post salvadoran option II has original text accompanied and supported by

bush's nomination speech,
negroponte's UN biography,
CIA Inspector General’s Office,
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
CIA Working Group Stipulations Released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
Stipulations From the CIA Inspector General's Office Released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ,
John Negroponte Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
U.S. State Department Country Report on Honduras,
Battalion 316 member Jose Barrera Quoted in the Baltimore Sun,
former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer
guardian UK,
newsweek (the article you referred to,
Seymour M. Hersh The New Yorker, the reporter that broke both the my lai and abu graib

whatever one says about billmon, conspiracy theorest is not accurate. you may not like his commentary but his source documentation is impectable. where do you think i origianlly read the newsweek story? i do not believe everything i read either.many of the things i link to i may not agree w/the commentary, nonetheless the facts, such as who exactly was the comtroller at the pentagon when trillions go missing, is relevant to me and the situation. if it isn't it should be.

billmon is one of the most read and respected bloggers, an ex USA today finacial writer ,ex dc journalist, he has a corporate day job.

annie said...

sorry about the double posting everyone

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Annie,

Sorry about that, I should have been clearer on the conspiracy. I was referring to Dov Zakheim and 9/11.

As for the rest, I pretty much agree with everything Jon just said. Although I am not convinced on the El Salvador option. That is that it was actually implemented. I personally just think they were just idiots in not realizing how out of control al-Sadr could become.

As I've said elsehwere more Keystone Kops than Machievelli.

Oh, and you have been reading about how the government shorted itself of 10 billion dollars on oil drilling in the Gulf region? Doubtful if we'll recoup that. I think the oil companies involved have went to court to try to get out of paying the old charges.

And so it goes.....

annie said...

lynn, i had saved the rummy cbs link & w/it the source doc and link i first heard about it w/that particular paragraph about Zakheim. my interest in him was that he was one of the founding neocons signed onto the 'clean break' plan for the ME, and that while in charge of something so laden w/responsibility at the pentagon his background was in... defense contracting. there seems to be a revolving door becoming accepted between politicians/government jobs and lobbying/defense contracting that frankly i find dangerous, disconcerting w/the potential peril eisenhower warned about in his military industrial complex speech. after i posted i checked to make sure the links worked and was a little embarrassed the source also delved into a speculative filled w/so much obvious bias any conclusion it came to i discarded and only checked facts that interested me w/regard to topics that interested me. to have so many advisors to president and cheney affiliated to one group(pnac) w/such a defined plan makes it a little hard to accept your keystone cops theory. i think it has been fairly well established for anyone paying attention (was it rummy or wolfowitz who made the' sweep it all up' get sadam statement the day after 9/11) that the administration started preparing for war w/iraq prior to 9/11. i don't think it is far fetched to come to a conclusion they used the event to bring america closer to their pre stated goals (letter to clinton) of removing sadam. i knew they were planning a confrontation w/iraq before 9/11. so i don't believe the possibility of using some of that money in nefarious ways for a war they were preparing for is particularily 'alien land'. your kops theory has to allow for a bunch of dim wits. i hardly think they are that.

As I've said elsehwere more Keystone Kops than Machievelli.

funny you should mention machiavelli. he happens to be a favorite of the presidential advisor/neocon leeden (associate of Zakheim) who wrote a book about him. i think if you read up on the philosopher the neocon's admire most, leo strauss, you may give the guys a little more credit than keystone kops.

Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago. (Truman Talley Books (St. Martin’s Press), 1999.) Ledeen wrote:

“Paradoxically, preserving liberty may require the rule of a single leader—a dictator—willing to use those dreaded ‘extraordinary measures, which few know how, or are willing, to employ.’ (p. 173)

“Machiavelli…has not lost his democratic faith. His call for a brief period of iron rule is a choice of the lesser of two evils: if the corruption continued, a real tyranny would be just a matter of time (making it even harder to restore free institutions), whereas freedom can be preserved if a good man can be found to put the state back in order. Just as it is sometimes necessary temporarily to resort to evil actions to achieve worthy objectives, so a period of dictatorship is sometimes the only hope for freedom.” (p. 174)

“Machiavelli’s favorite hero…Moses exercised dictatorial power, but that awesome power was used to create freedom.” (p. 174)

“We should not be outraged by Machiavelli’s call for a temporary dictatorship as an effective means to either revivify or restore freedom.” (p. 174)

there is an interesting article about ""popular, accountable, rights-regarding [PAR] governments" that discount the need for democracies. After two years of consultations with more than 400 members of the US foreign-policy elite, a project headed by two leading international-relations academics is calling for the adoption of a new grand strategy designed to address multiple threats and strengthen Washington's commitment to a reformed and reinvigorated multilateral order.......In addition to calling for greater US effort and balance in promoting an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement and for offering security guarantees to Iran,the report urges Washington to reduce its ambitions in Iraq from full democratization to PAR, to redeploy US troops in ways that would encourage Iraqis to take more responsibility, and, in the event of civil war, to contain its regional impact. At the same time, Washington should promote the construction of regional institutions modeled on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

interesting.

haven't followed the 10 billion shortchange in gulf story, any links?

one more thing. this group the leeden crowd, are the same group that designed iran contra, they found a way of funding w/out going thru congress. if they did it once, why not again?

Hamzeh said...

Hey Kid,

I know you are angry and that is part of grieving process.

I am SORRY for your friends deaths, but are you blaming America Soldiers?

America Soldiers are not killing Iraqis in roadside bombs or suicide bombs. 100 Iraqis a day are being killed by Iraqis in sectarian violence.

This has been happening for centuries. If Saddam was removed in 1991 the sectarian violence would have been worse.

With America soldiers at least they stop Genocide of all Sunni by Shia, which would have happened in 1991 if they had been successful in overthrowing Saddam then.

But you would prefer Saddam Hussein stay in power? Bring Saddam Hussein back and U.S. Forces get the f**k out of there?

If not then don't burn the America Flag. They have lost brothers, too.


Did you know Saddam Hussein was putting bullets into babies brains just for being Kurdish along with their Mothers while you drank your tea?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3738368.stm


That was better for Iraq?
I think the British Imperialsim has screwed Iraq from creating in 1920 and making it into Iraq out of three distinct regions that wanted their own counties in 1948.

It sucks sucks sucks that you lost your buddies.

It hurts. I have lost both Grandmothers, Grandfather, and Uncle. It hurts. It never goes away, but will get better. America gave us a chance at freedom.

A small amount of Iraqis, along with foreign Wahabi al-Qaida, have brought suffering on majority of Iraqis. :(
What's answer???

Assalamu Allaikum brother...

annie said...

hey kid, best photo image so far, very cool. hang in there, i hear baghdad is hell right now, stay safe.

follow your instincts and heart. i am so very sorry about your friends. to honor them, keep them forever in your heart.

annie said...

oh kid, i am listening to your funeralmarch again now. the first time i tried when you first linked it didn't work for me, but now, it does. i have played it over and over. i am so very sorry. your pain, the way you honor your friends with your chanting, you must be a very deep person, and to be able to show such emotion, how strong of you. i feel such loss for so many beautiful innocent people gone. just gone. what a tradgedy.

i hope you don't mind, i am sharing your chant link w/my friends. i speaks volumes.

annie said...

The only solution I can think of comes from an old Soundgarden song:
Black Hole Sun, won’t you come and wash away the rain


In my eyes
Indisposed
In disguise
As no one knows
Hides the face
Lies the snake
The sun
In my disgrace
Boiling heat
Summer stench
neath the black
The sky looks dead
Call my name
Through the cream
And Ill hear you
Scream again

Black hole sun
Wont you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Wont you come
Wont you come

Stuttering
Cold and damp
Steal the warm wind
Tired friend
Times are gone
For honest men
And sometimes
Far too long
For snakes
In my shoes
A walking sleep
And my youth
I pray to keep
Heaven send
Hell away
No one sings
Like you
Anymore

Hang my head
Drown my fear
Till you all just
Disappear

a horrible, Hollywood-like experience that is too long to be told here

no, please tell me, i want to hear..

Konfused Kid said...

Hamza,

A thousand thanks for your words, I believe this article was more hard on Americans than everyone else because I was writing it for the New York Times at the moment, I wanted people to feel our suffering; and all in all, I don't believe in American withdrawal nor do I believer they are the only people to blame - everyone is to blame, I burned all the flags my friend, not only theirs.

I don't think you are correct when you talk about my drinking tea, I can't change a thing then, and now. but they can. I know many people did not vote for Bush, but most importantly is they should feel my anger and frustration.


Annie,

Thank you for your comments, I may or may not tell the Hollywood-like experience in future time, anyway, if you're interested in Basim al-Karbala'ie's song, it is performed in Arabic so it may alienate you, however, he did a different English-language piece, his pronounciation is not quite, he sings 'live' as 'life', but the feel is all there....check it out:


http://www.althqlin.net/sounds/playmaq-1171-0.html

annie said...

thank you kid, you must have been reading my mind. i very much wanted a translation and forgot to ask. it does not alienate me at all, very intense emotional, speaks directly to the soul.

annie said...

whoops, i recall it was the other thread, i did ask after all, thank you for making this effort for me.

who is Bassim al-Karbalie ?

marktheo11566592 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hass said...

I'm sorry brother - I really am.

M0N9EF said...

Gut wrenching. Please accept my deepest condolences.

annie said...

it's so quiet here. please write us another post kid.

attawie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
attawie said...

Hi Kid,

I read the post and it reminds me of your look and your sorrow. it also reminds me when Morbido, Micho and I were watching the pictures and the CD you are talking about. First we were watching and having fun seeing you funny and happy but then I told the story you told me when you were upset after the disaster.
Later we watched with sadness. We didn't know the 4 guys but we looked at the photos knowing your life won't be the same.

Take care

Omar said...

Hello bro,

I dunno what to say but God bless u and bless all poor iraqis.

Konfused Kid said...

Hey Attawie,

Thank you for stopping by, it's been a while, but I have to say one thing:
My 'look' is always like that :) I have sad eyes.
Geez...i didn't know I looked that miserable!

Post soon man! I meant girl!

Melantrys said...

My, are we konfused today. :P

Spirit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Anonymous said...

kidd,

I cannot begin to convey my deepest sympathies to you. I know how much it hurts to lose those you love. Although, I will not pretend to say that I even begin to understand what you are going through living in that hell. I routinely read your blog & am slowly working my way through your previous posts. I just want to express to you how moving this last blog was and to say that you are to young to stop caring about life (ie exposing yourself to possibly danger). Great hurt, grief, and hopelessness is the culprit here, but trust me when I say that you have much to say and that helps open many peoples' eyes. I believe in you and the message that you are trying to send; enough so to link you from my blog & to tell people about you & recommend your site. You are certainly wise beyond your years. Wise enough that I think deep down you know you can & will do more alive than dead.

That all being said, I would also like to add that I don't like pepsi. :-) Trying for a little mood lifter there. Many of us did/do not support the invasion of Iraq. And many of us are aware of the real reasons we went there. I cry every time I hear about one of yours & one of ours dying over there. Pls know that we have tried standing up to this government. I think you can understand what its like to have a government so corrupt that it silences its people. Maybe it is not by death, but many who had stood up to the war had their lives turned upside down. Little consulation to you I know, but people have and & were shut up for it. Our own president has labeled those that don't support the war as traitors & terrorists as well. I can tell you that I never voted for or supported this man & I am really not sure what is wrong with the idiots in this country that did vote him in. All I can say is pls forgive those amercians that were that stupid & the rest of us that ended up at the mercy of those idiots. We just keep holding on for 2 years and hope that he doesn't destroy us either. Then maybe we can find someone smart & humane enough to help Iraqi's find some kind of peace.

Blog on my friend and may you find yourself to somewhere safe....maybe even in the States if you so desire.

If you ever do come the the US, let me know & I will treat you to a coca cola.....

God speed, my friend.....

Melantrys said...

Make that a big coke; the Kid is greedy. ;)

What? Me? Spamming?! Noooooo.... :D

Anonymous said...

Angels of high unite
Let there be peace in the world tonight
Take away our fears
Wipe away our tears
Our hearts are heavy,
Embrace us, give us hope
Replace hatred with love
Sorrow with memories of joy
Angels of high unite
Bring peace to us tonight

This poem was written by Chris St. Dennis from Fort Mc Murray, Alberta Canada. I found it on the memorial site dedicated to the victims of 9/11, sadly it has applicability to many other tragegies, including Kid, the victims of 6/11

peacelover

Professor Zero said...

I am so terribly sorry.

Z
New Orleans, LA

Jarren Edwards orlando, fl said...

I have just read your article and i must say it is very heart warming tears fell from my eyes for your friends and i hope you find peace with in yourself.

Good luck My Brother

Jarren Edwards orlando, fl said...

I have just read your article and i must say it is very heart warming tears fell from my eyes for your friends and i hope you find peace with in yourself.

Good luck My Brother

Fatima said...

Wow, I just read your post, and it tore at me. It happens to so many people, but to come to know these people through your post makes it so much more poignant. Allah yirhamhum. I hope that you are spared any more pain.

Justpastalaska said...

How do we stop this?
I am so sorry for this.
I am so sorry for my complicity through apathy.
What can I do for you? What would you have us do?

You must know that many of us here feel profound grief and shame for this ghastly abomination we have wrought on you and your country.

Know that I will remember Saif, Hobi, Yahya, Ninos, and the innumerable other lives lost to this holocaust.

Peace

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