Real Jessica Lynch Rescue Video April 28, 2007Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Video, War.
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New video of PFC Jessica Lynch’s rescue from Iraqi hands over 4 years ago has risen to light. It is now clear just how different the reality of her extraction is from the White House reports at the time. I remember very clearly how the focus of American media shifted dramatically from the progress of the invasion, the failed hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the non-existant Weapons of Mass Destruction, and an ever elusive Saddam Hussein to this one missing Private. At the time, I was confounded… why was the media not reporting on the important things!? Why were we constantly forced to listen to an, as we now know, fabricated report of her capture, detainment, and rescue? It seemed ludicrous with all that was happening, to focus entirely on this one soldier.
Of course, I know now from my own conversations with reporters in Iraq at the time that the US Government simply was not providing information on anything other than Lynch. The reporters had to talk about her and her rescue because thats all the Government would talk about. Clearly, the White House wanted to distract the American public from the realities of a bungled war. If there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we would’ve found some kind of evidence within the first few days of occupying Baghdad. When we didn’t, it became immediately apparent to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and anyone else “in the know” that the war was a massive mistake. By redirecting media focus to a “human story,” the capture and subsequent rescue of a cute, 19 year old girl seemed like just the thing to pull the wool over our eyes once again.
Now, we can see her rescue, as it really happened….
Technorati Tags: America, Captured, Diversion, George Bush, Iraq, Jessica Lynch, Middle East, Misdirection, News, Politics, President, Psychological Warfare, Public, Rescue, United States, Video, War, Weapons, White House
Bush Using Troops in Iraq as Hostages Against Congress April 23, 2007Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, News, Politics, War.
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From The New York Times:
By Paul Krugman
There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.
If this were a normal political dispute, Democrats in Congress would clearly hold the upper hand: by a huge margin, Americans say they want a timetable for withdrawal, and by a large margin they also say they trust Congress, not Mr. Bush, to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq.
But this isn’t a normal political dispute. Mr. Bush isn’t really trying to win the argument on the merits. He’s just betting that the people outside the barricade care more than he does about the fate of those innocent bystanders.
What’s at stake right now is the latest Iraq “supplemental.” Since the beginning, the administration has refused to put funding for the war in its regular budgets. Instead, it keeps saying, in effect: “Whoops! Whaddya know, we’re running out of money. Give us another $87 billion.”
At one level, this is like the behavior of an irresponsible adolescent who repeatedly runs through his allowance, each time calling his parents to tell them he’s broke and needs extra cash.
What I haven’t seen sufficiently emphasized, however, is the disdain this practice shows for the welfare of the troops, whom the administration puts in harm’s way without first ensuring that they’ll have the necessary resources.
As long as a G.O.P.-controlled Congress could be counted on to rubber-stamp the administration’s requests, you could say that this wasn’t a real problem, that the administration’s refusal to put Iraq funding in the regular budget was just part of its usual reliance on fiscal smoke and mirrors. But this time Mr. Bush decided to surge additional troops into Iraq after an election in which the public overwhelmingly rejected his war — and then dared Congress to deny him the necessary funds. As I said, it’s an act of hostage-taking.
Actually, it’s even worse than that. According to reports, the final version of the funding bill Congress will send won’t even set a hard deadline for withdrawal. It will include only an “advisory,” nonbinding date. Yet Mr. Bush plans to veto the bill all the same — and will then accuse Congress of failing to support the troops.
The whole situation brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln said, in his great Cooper Union speech in 1860, about secessionists who blamed the critics of slavery for the looming civil war: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’ ”
So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats?
Everyone talks about the political risks of confrontation, recalling the backlash when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1995. But there’s a big difference between trying to force a fairly popular president to accept deep cuts in Medicare — which is what the 1995 confrontation was about — and trying to get a deeply unpopular, distrusted president to set some limits on an immensely unpopular war.
Meanwhile, there are big political risks on the other side. If Congress responds to a presidential veto by offering an even weaker bill, voters may well react with disgust, concluding that the whole debate over the war was nothing but political theater.
Anyway, never mind the political calculations. Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.
The fact is that Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security. Thanks to the demands of the Iraq war, we’re already a superpower without a strategic reserve, unable to respond to crises that might erupt elsewhere in the world. And more and more military experts warn that repeated deployments in Iraq — now extended to 15 months — are breaking the back of our volunteer military.
If nothing is done to wind down this war during the 21 months — 21 months! — Mr. Bush has left, the damage may be irreparable.
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At least 52 people have been killed in a fourth day of heavy fighting between Ethiopian troops and Islamist militia in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu.
Doctors said there had been overrun with casualties and there were reports of bodies strewn across streets.
More than 130 people were killed and 200 injured in the first three days of fighting, a local rights group said.
Ethiopian forces have been in Mogadishu since December after helping Somalia’s transitional government oust Islamists.
The UN says more than 320,000 people have fled fighting in the capital since February.
One confirmed attack on Saturday was on the al-Barakah market.
A number of people were killed when mortar rounds landed. Local reports spoke of bodies mutilated beyond recognition.
AFP news agency reported a mortar round also struck a bus in the southern Hodan district, killing four people.
Somalia’s Elman Human Rights Organisation said at least 52 people were killed in Saturday’s violence, which it described as the worst in recent years.
“I call on the both sides to stop the fighting and shelling without any condition,” chairman Sudan Ali Ahmed said to Associated Press news agency.
One resident, Ali Haji, said: “Ethiopians are trying to kill me because I am Somali, and insurgents are not happy because I am not picking up a gun and fighting with them. I have lost all hope.”
The UN is warning of a humanitarian disaster. Most of those who have fled lack food and water and hundreds have already died from cholera and diarrhoea, UN humanitarian co-ordinator Eric Laroche said.
Somalia has not had a functional government since 1991. A transitional government was formed in 2004, but has so far failed to take full control of the country.
Ethiopian forces backing the transitional government swept into Mogadishu in December displacing the Islamic Courts Union (UIC).
Violence has intensified since then, after the relative calm when the UIC ran the city.
The insurgents are believed to be a mixture of Islamist fighters and militiamen from the Hawiye clan – the largest in Mogadishu.
US Ambassador to Kenya and Somalia Michael Ranneberger said the ongoing violence was part of an attempt by these groups to create an insurgency, but that it was not yet a structured movement.
“At this point it’s opportunistic violence,” Mr Ranneberger told AP news agency. “They’re not organised like an insurgency.”
Ethiopian troops have started to withdraw, to be replaced by an African Union peacekeeping force, but only 1,200 of the 8,000 troops the AU says it needs have been deployed.
U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,314 April 19, 2007Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, War.
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As of Thursday, April 19, 2007, at least 3,314 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,691 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.
The AP count is three higher than the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT.
The British military has reported 142 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 19; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, one death each.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 24,764 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department’s weekly tally.
Virginia Tech Shooting – 3D Virtual Timeline April 18, 2007Posted by Dan in Main, News.
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My deepest condolences and sympathy for all of those who lost loved one in the recent shooting at Virgina Tech. I must admit, I have been shocked by what transpired. Schools are supposed to be places of learning, not terror. I found myself asking, like many, what could possibly have lead someone to commit such indiscriminate violence? This question may never fully be resolved, but The New York Times had posted an interactive timeline of the events that can help.
Global Warming Threatens U.S. Security, Ex-Generals Report April 15, 2007Posted by Dan in Environment, Main, Must Read, Politics, Science.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming poses a “serious threat to America’s national security” and the U.S. likely will be dragged into fights over water and other shortages, top retired military leaders warn in a new report.
The report says that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be wars over water, increased hunger instability from worsening disease and rising sea levels and global warming-induced refugees. “The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism,” the 35-page report predicts.
“Climate change exacerbates already unstable situations,” former U.S. Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan told Associated Press Radio. “Everybody needs to start paying attention to what’s going on. I don’t think this is a particularly hard sell in the Pentagon. … We’re paying attention to what those security implications are.”
Gen. Anthony “Tony” Zinni, President Bush’s former Middle East envoy, says in the report: “It’s not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism.”
The report was issued by the Alexandria, Virginia-based, national security think-tank The CNA Corporation and was written by six retired admirals and five retired generals. They warn of a future of rampant disease, water shortages and flooding that will make already dicey areas — such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa — even worse.
“Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies,” the report says. “The U.S. will be drawn more frequently into these situations.”
Joining calls already made by scientists and environmental activists, the retired U.S. military leaders call on the U.S. government to make major cuts in emissions of gases that cause global warming.
The Bush administration has declined mandatory emission cuts in favor of voluntary methods. Other nations have committed to required reductions that kick in within a few years.
“We will pay for this one way or another,” writes Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command. “We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll.”
Top climate scientists said the report makes sense and increased national security risk is a legitimate global warming side-effect.
The report is “pretty impressive,” but may be too alarmist because it may take longer than 30 years for some of these things to happen, said Stanford scientist Terry Root, a co-author of this month’s international scientific report on the effects of global warming on life on Earth.
But the instability will happen sometime, Root agreed.
“We’re going to have a war over water,” Root said. “There’s just not going to be enough water around for us to have for us to need to live with and to provide for the natural environment.”
University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said the military officers were smart to highlight the issue of refugees who flee unstable areas because of global warming.
“There will be tens of millions of people migrating, where are we going to put them?” Weaver said.
Weaver said that over the past years, scientists, who by nature are cautious, have been attacked by conservative activists when warning about climate change. This shows that it’s not a liberal-conservative issue, Weaver said.
Abstinence Education Does Not Impact Sexual Behavior April 14, 2007Posted by Dan in Politics, Sex.
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Abstinence Education Does Not Impact Sexual Behavior:
By Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.,,
A recent study of four abstinence education programs finds that the programs had no effect on the sexual abstinence of youth. But it also finds that youth in these programs were no more likely to have unprotected sex, a concern that has been raised by some critics of these programs. The study found that youth in the four evaluated programs were no more likely than youth not in the programs to have abstained from sex in the four to six years after they began participating in the study. Youth in both groups who reported having had sex also had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same average age.
“This is the first study of multi-year abstinence programs, and it is one of the few that has tracked its sample members for as long as six years,” notes Christopher Trenholm, the project director and a senior researcher at Mathematica. “The study finds that the sexual abstinence of students in four programs selected for the study was much the same as that of students who did not participate in these programs.”
“Some policymakers and health educators have criticized the Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs, questioning whether the focus on abstinence puts teens at risk of having unprotected sex,” says Barbara Devaney, one of the study’s principal investigators and vice president and director of Human Services Research at Mathematica. “The evaluation findings suggest that this is not the case. Participants in the abstinence education programs and nonparticipating youth had similar rates of unprotected sex at first intercourse and over the past 12 months.”
The study findings highlight the challenges faced by programs aiming to reduce adolescent sexual activity. Two lessons are important for future programming in this area:
Targeting youth at young ages may not be sufficient. Most Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs are implemented in upper elementary and middle schools and most are completed before youth enter high school. The findings from this study provide no evidence that abstinence programs implemented at these grades reduce sexual activity of youth during their high school years. However, the findings provide no information on the effects programs might have if they were implemented in high school or began at earlier ages but continued through high school.
Peer support for abstinence erodes during adolescence. Peer support for abstinence is a significant predictor of later sexual activity. Although the four abstinence programs had at most a small impact on this measure in the short term and no impact in the long term, this finding suggests that promoting support for abstinence among peer networks should be an important feature of future abstinence programs.
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The so-called “Green Zone,” an area in Iraq supposedly under fierce coalition control, has been breached by a suicide bomber with the audacity to explode inside the Iraqi Parliament building, killing at least 2 Iraqi lawmakers. 8 Iraqis were killed in the blast and another 20 were wounded. No doubt, Senator John McCain is eating his words about Iraq’s expanding security.
This mp3 podcast from the New York Times explains what happened:
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Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the street to protest the American occupation. At least they’re doing something as a group! Perhaps thats the secret to unifying a foreign population. We’ve always known that an attack from an outside aggressor will coalesce even the oldest of enemies. It happened in World War 2 when Germany turned on Russia, forcing them to ally with us. Now, maybe it’s happening in Iraq… Sunnis and Shiites have a common enemy once again (it used to be Saddam, but now, unfortunately, we’ve begun to fill that role). Perhaps this is not a bad thing… Perhaps it is what the Iraqis need to form a true, unified government. The thirteen colonies would never have formed a federal union were it not for the threat of British aggression and the need to repel it. So maybe there is a silver lining to the seething hatred aimed at the United States… a lining of unification.
Video of Bill O’Reilly Losing His Mind April 6, 2007Posted by Dan in News, Politics, Video.
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He has finally gone way too far… Bill O’Reilly has really lost his mind. He explodes at Geraldo Rivera in this one on one…